Detectives have been investigating details of regular and systematic abuse of the children at the Smyllum Park children’s home in Lanark, Scotland. This led to 12 arrests, including nuns at the Catholic children’s home, with a further four former staff to be reported to the Crown Office, which handles Scotland’s prosecution cases, later on, Thursday.

The abuse includes sexual and physical abuse of the children over a period of several decades at the home. No identities have as yet been revealed for those charged and pending final decisions by prosecutors, the offences they face were also not revealed.

Nuns and other staff arrested

As reported by the BBC, a statement said that 12 people, including one man and 11 women, aged from 62 to 85 years, are currently under arrest and have been charged with what they termed the “non-recent abuse” of children in the home. It said that a further four individuals, who no longer work at the home, were also being reported to prosecutors.

Allegations of abuse at the children’s home

Smyllum Park was under the care of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul up until the home closed in 1981.

Among the allegations of abuse at the children’s home, there are also unsubstantiated claims of “satanic rituals” being performed. Smyllum Park has been the center of an official public inquiry for some time, including child sexual abuse at other children’s homes throughout Scotland.

Former residents of the home told the Scottish Child Abuser Inquiry (SCAI) that nuns and other lay staff had repeatedly beaten and punched them, humiliated them for wetting their beds, verbally abused them and left them without food.

The former residents also accused some of the male and female staff at the home of sexually abusing the children in the home. It was also alleged by the former residents that at least one of the children, a boy of six, had died after receiving a severe beating, which had prevented the boy from recovering from an infection.

The Daughters of Charity’s lawyer, Gregor Rolfe, told the inquiry in 2017 that one male former employee, who took children on holidays, may have sexually abused them.

The allegations were reportedly passed on to the nuns, but not to the police.

Hundreds of children in unmarked graves

Families of some of the former residents at the children’s home were horrified when it was uncovered that the remains of around 400 children had been buried in a plot of unmarked graves in a nearby cemetery.

From when it opened in 1864, over 11,000 children had been placed into the care of Smyllum Park until its eventual closure. Some children came from families unable to care from them and some were orphans. According to death certificates, many children had died from pneumonia, tuberculosis, and pleurisy.

According to a report by the Scottish Daily Mail on Thursday, police are beginning a separate investigation into another Catholic order, the Sisters of Nazareth that also ran children’s homes and are currently under scrutiny.