Three siblings are to share a £1m damages settlement for childhood sexual abuse suffered at the hands of a care worker at a children's home run by the Church of Scotland.
All three were targeted at the Lord and Lady Polworth Children's Home in Edinburgh by Ian Samson, who was jailed for 14 years in 2013 for 22 offences involving sexual abuse and the rape of 12 children over three decades, with eight of the offences taking place at the home during the 1970s.
The female claimant, who was forced to undergo an abortion when she became pregnant after being raped, secured £500,000 while her two brothers each received £250,000. The sums are believed to be the highest ever recovered from a religious institution.
The settlement was reached after legal proceedings were raised for the victims by Kim Leslie of solicitors Digby Brown, who said: "The significant sum secured for our clients gives you an idea of just how extreme Ian Samson was and how horrifically our clients suffered – in terms of settlements made public against religious groups, this is certainly the highest value I'm aware of in the 20 years I've practised law.
"Sadly, there will be other brave survivors who have fallen victim to similar campaigns of abuse and to them I would say stay strong, keep going and when you're ready to talk or take action then there's a wealth of support for you when the time is right."
In a statement the unnamed claimants said: "Our case has never been about the money – raising a civil action in the courts was the only way we could get any sort of acknowledgment from the Church of Scotland.
"It's a shame that an organisation which promotes 'goodness and morals' can't do the right thing themselves and hold their hands up and apologise rather than force victims to go endure further legal proceedings."
A Church of Scotland spokesperson said the church had "expressed our deep and sincere regret" for the abuses.
She added: "We became aware of the full facts in 2013 at which point we offered our full support to the victims.
"While Samson's abuse of children was wider than his activity in Lord and Lady Polwarth Home, it felt important to us that there was full acknowledgment of the harm which did occur in our care at the time, and the longer-term consequences for three siblings involved."
The Church had carried out a full independent review so it could learn lessons for its safeguarding practices today.
A Scottish Government advance payment scheme for those who suffered abuse in care prior to 2004 opened last week for people aged 70 or over or who have a terminal illness (click here for details). A wider payment scheme is due to open in 2021.