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SBS screening documentary on abuse by nuns

The Australian SBS TV network will tonight show Unholy Orders, which presents the view of a group of people fighting back against the Scottish nuns they accuse of abusing and silencing them as children.

In May 1997, newspapers broke the story of abuse in Scottish orphanages by nuns. A class action formed and quickly escalated to four hundred and fifty people. Claims are for abuse that spread from the 1920s to the late 1970s, charging the nuns with degrading and inhumane punishment. Cath Yeomans, now living in Australia, is the oldest claimant. She and her sisters spent ten years in an institution run by the Sisters of Nazareth in Glasgow.

When ill health prevented Cath from returning to Scotland to settle her past, filmmaker Geraldine Gandolfo, who had made a successful claim against the Church, offered to go to Scotland as Cath's go-between.

Gandolgo and some of the participants in the film join a crowd of survivors and press for the sentencing. Despite being found guilty on four charges, she was let off without a jail sentence or a fine. Publicity for the film states that even after this case, the Church and the nuns continued to deny that the abuse had taken place and refused to apologise.

Unholy Orders, part of the Storyline Australia collection of documentaries that screens on Thursdays at 8:30 pm, is an Australian production made with funding assistance from SBS Independent.

Storyline Australia: Unholy Orders (Sydney Morning Herald 4/11/04)

Unholy Orders
Storyline Autralia | Unholy Orders (SBS)

4 Nov 2004