Some topics required of the Inquiry's Terms of Reference are best explored and investigated through roundtables.

What are roundtables?

Roundtables are an opportunity to invite key stakeholders to share with the Inquiry their knowledge of the current policy and practice landscape in Scotland, and whether and how improvements can be achieved. Roundtables are particularly helpful for the consideration of complex issues, where the perspectives of a range of stakeholders should be debated and taken into consideration.

Roundtables are an opportunity to invite key stakeholders to share with the Inquiry their knowledge of the current policy and practice landscape in Scotland, and whether and how improvements can be achieved. 

In this section, you can read the findings from each roundtable session. Printed copies are available, please contact us (HYPERLINK) for more information

Roundtable no.1 - The Psychology of Individuals Who Abuse Children

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (“SCAI”) held roundtable sessions on 22nd and 23rd March 2022, at its premises in Edinburgh. The purpose of the sessions was to explore aspects of the psychology of those who abuse children with relevant experts.

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Upcoming events

Lady Smith, the Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, has heard accounts from many survivors of neglect and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. She has also heard from convicted and alleged perpetrators, as well as other witnesses who can speak to the attitudes and practices that may have contributed to the abuse of children in care.

The vast literature on abuse does not always capture the invaluable experiences and insights of practitioners and experts in the field. Experts across disciplines and backgrounds have extensive knowledge and understanding of child abuse, which will be helpful to the Inquiry and inform Lady Smith’s recommendations to ensure that looked-after children are safe from abuse in the future. 

Please check back for details of the next Roundtables event.

Past events

The subject of the first roundtable was Preventing the Abuse of Children in Care: the Psychology of Individual Adult Abusers.

The roundtable discussions focused on the expert participants’ knowledge and understanding of the psychology of adult abusers. They did not explore the particular psychology of any of the individual abusers about whom the Inquiry has heard or will hear evidence in case studies.

Details of the event (now concluded)

Mint House

10 am, 22 and 23 March 2022

The two-day event took place at Mint House at 10am on Tuesday and Wednesday the 22nd and 23rd of March, 2022. 


Day 1, 22 March 2022

  • Individual Abuser Psychology
  • Individual Abuse in Religious Institutions
  • Denial & Minimisation
  • Individual & Group Abuse

Day 2, 23 March 2022

  • Victims & Attachment
  • Grooming
  • Victim to Perpetrator Journey
  • Risk, Recruitment, & Training

List of Participants

Stuart Allardyce is Director of the child protection charity Stop It Now! Scotland which focuses on the prevention of child sexual abuse. He also heads up research at their UK parent charity, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. Stuart is a social worker who has worked in the sexual violence field for over 20 years. He is vice chair of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abuse, the principal membership organisation in the UK and Ireland for professionals who work with sex offenders.

He is a visiting researcher at Strathclyde University and trustee of White Ribbon Scotland. He is the author of several journal articles and book chapters on child sexual abuse and its prevention. He is co-author of the 2018 book ‘Working with Children and Young People Who Have Displayed Harmful Sexual Behaviour'.

Written Submission from Stuart Allardyce, William Manson, and Fiona Moran — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Judi Bolton is a Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist working in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Prior to Scotland she worked internationally, including Canada, Sri Lanka, China, and Hong Kong.

Written Submission from Judi Bolton — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Liz Gilchrist is an HCPC Registered Forensic Psychologist and a Chartered Psychologist, Professor of Psychological Therapies at the University of Edinburgh, Chair of the Scottish Advisory Panel for Offender Rehabilitation, past-Chair of the Division of Forensic Psychology-Scotland (DFP-S), and a member of the Community Justice Scotland Academic Advisory Committee. She has researched and published in the area of intimate partner abuse, substance use, parenting risk, and justice.

She is also an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, holding an M.A. (Psychology) (Edin.) M.Phil. (Criminology) (Cantab.) and a PhD (Criminology) (Cantab.), having served for 13 years as a member of the Parole Boards for Scotland and for England and Wales, and holding the roles of research advisor and training provider for the Risk Management Authority in Scotland. She provides training for professionals in criminal justice, social work, and child protection.

Written Submission from Elizabeth Gilchrist — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Michele Gilluley is a Chartered Psychologist, HCPC Registered Forensic Psychologist, and Associate Fellow of the BPS. Working in forensic psychology for over 23 years and currently employed as the Priory Healthcare Professional Lead for Psychology and locally as Head of Psychology at Priory Ayr Clinic, she has a breadth of experience in forensic psychology. Michele is the elected chair of the Division of Forensic Psychology Scotland (DFPS) and Co-programme lead for the MSc Forensic Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Her areas of clinical expertise include risk assessments, treatment, assessment of intimate partner violence, complex trauma, personality disorder, and forensic risk factors. In the last five years, she has also been an international expert to the Council of Europe in risk assessment and management of forensic populations, and appointed to the Board of the Risk Management Authority (RMA) and as a panel member to the Scottish Advisory Panel for Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR) by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

Written Submission from Michele Gilluley — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Martin Henry is an independent consultant, with decades of experience in child protection. Martin completed his CQSW, DSW in 1974 and M.Phil (Child Protection Studies) in 1993. He has 20 years’ experience as a Child and Family social worker, supervisor, and manager at the local authority level. Also at the local authority level, Martin served 11 years as the Child Protection Co-ordinator and Lead Officer (Child Protection Office). Martin was a Visiting Lecturer and Consultant for the Scottish Police College for 22 years. In 1992, he was a member of the Scottish Catholic Bishops Conference Working Party on Child Sexual Abuse.

He has worked as the Safeguarding Adviser to the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh for 22 years, and as Chair of the Safeguarding Commission, Conference of Religious in Scotland, for four years. Martin was the National Manager for Stop it Now! Scotland for eight years, and an Independent Consultant on Public Protection for five years.

He was also on the Scottish Executive Committee of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) for four years, and was the Vice-Chair of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Survivors of Sexual Abuse for five years. He was the Chair of the Independent Review of Child Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football, between 2017-2021.

Written Submission from Martin Henry — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Lorraine Johnstone is a dual trained and chartered consultant clinical forensic psychologist. She has extensive experience working in senior positions with children, adolescents and adults across a range of settings including secure children's homes, residential settings, prisons, forensic hospitals, inpatient settings, and community mental health provisions. Lorraine has published extensively on various topics concerned with developmental psychopathology, offending, mental health and risk assessment.

She has also presented at many local, national, and international meetings and recently gave a keynote speech on the need for a paradigm shift for understanding severe behavioural disorders in children. The main tenet of this was the need for a focus on attachment and trauma to ensure effective interventions.

Lorraine has also regularly given evidence across the range of legal fora. She provides expert evidence in family law case, criminal law cases, and is often instructed to provide opinions in relation to children in the care system.

Written Submission from Lorraine Johnstone — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Katharine Russell is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist. She studied both Psychology and Clinical Psychology at the University of Glasgow and has worked in forensic settings since becoming a Clinical Psychologist. She has worked in high and medium secure settings and in 2006 she was the co-founder of the Serious Offender Liaison Service (SOLS). This service provides MAPPA agencies with clinical expertise through consultation, liaison, and assessment in relation to high-risk offenders in the community, as well as developing and delivering training for staff working with high-risk offenders.

In 2016, she took on the Professional Lead role for Clinical Psychology within the Orchard Clinic medium secure unit. Between 2015 and 2018 she was a Psychologist Board Member for the Risk Management Authority (RMA) having previously been an RMA Accredited risk assessor. She has chaired various forensic clinical psychology groups in the NHS and both been participant and Chair in working groups for the Forensic Network on personality disorder related issues.

She is currently Head of Complex Care for Psychology in NHS Lothian. She has a number of publications based on her work with multi-agency risk management and high risk offenders.

Written Submission from Katharine Russell — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Morag Slesser is a consultant forensic clinical psychologist who has worked throughout her 30-year career in forensic mental health and criminal justice services. She has specialised in the assessment and management of high-risk sexual and violent offenders. Her last NHS post was as head of psychological services at the State Hospital.

She is a member of the Parole Board and the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland. She works on a freelance basis providing psychological assessment and advice to the criminal courts and to the national crime agency.

Written Submission from Morag Slesser — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)

Fiona Munro is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. While she was not available to attend the event sessions, she provided us a written submission.

Written Submission from Fiona Munro — Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (HYPERLINK)