In matters penal I can usually be counted a proper soggy liberal.

Don’t believe in chucking people in jail for meaningless short sentences, don’t believe in the death penalty, am acutely aware that young people who get into trouble usually have a depressingly similar back story, and women who get into trouble, for the most part do so through their partner one way or the other.

In one area, however, I am utterly hard line: child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, is simply beyond the civilised pale.

I have known a couple of people quite well who were victims of this and who carried the mental scars throughout their adult life. It affected their subsequent relationships and their sense of self worth. It is, however you dress it up, a vile crime.

READ MORE: Rhu children's home abuse ruling 'sends horrific message' to survivors, campaigner says

Last week, people who were allegedly abused at the former Lagarie House in Rhu learned that they would not be given compensation. The defence successfully argued that, since those accused of being the perpetrators were now dead, a balanced case could not be heard.

We learned, too, that the Sailors’ Society, who owned the home, are currently in dire financial straits. (Though not too dire to hire counsel to argue their case.)

Thus is legal insult added to personal injury for the men and women who, interviewed on the BBC, still had all too vivid memories of their maltreatment. Memories which will never be erased.

Money would not have erased them either, but it would have been tangible public recognition of their ordeal.

READ MORE: Lagarie children's home abuse compensation cases dismissed

Over the years we’ve heard too many stories of how the most vulnerable children wind up being put in the care of those whose personalities make them the worst possible choices for the undertaking.

Yet it’s striking to remember that typically most abusers are actually members of the victims’ extended families or friends thereof. Violent boyfriends of their mother; worse still, their own dad or siblings. A double betrayal – the abuse itself at a wholly inappropriate age and stage, and the abuse of trust by someone of whose protection they ought to be sure.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority makes awards to victims of violent crime, however these awards are contingent on all kinds of caveats, including the time elapsed since the assault and evidence of police involvement. And, obviously, it’s important that public money is dispensed following proper checks.

However there is surely a case for a similar scheme for historical crimes like those thrown up by Lagarie House.

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