ANGELA Constance is today expected to name the chairman of the long-awaited statutory public inquiry into historic child sex abuse, and to reveal its remit.

The Education Secretary, who announced there would be an inquiry in December, will outline the inquiry’s details in the Holyrood chamber to MSPs and dozens of members of survivors’ groups this afternoon.

Retired judge Lord McEwan, who made a landmark ruling to lift a legal time-bar to enable an abuse victim to take civil action, is favoured by some victims to chair the inquiry.

Survivors’ groups have also told The National that they would consider Lord Malcolm as a suitable appointment.

The former Edinburgh University academic served as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Advocates from 1997-2001 and Dean from 2001-2004. He was a founder member of the Judicial Appointments Board and has also served as a part-time member of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.

Ministers will be anxious to avoid the problems which have beset a similar embryonic inquiry south of the Border – where two prospective chairmen were forced to step aside after claims they could not be seen as wholly impartial.

But there is also concern among Scottish victims that Government ministers may seek to narrow the inquiry north of the Border to exclude those who were abused in non-care home settings such as hospitals.

They want the inquiry to be as wide-ranging as possible and are concerned the Scottish Government may narrow its focus to the extent many victims will be excluded.

One campaigner told The National: “We will be listening very carefully to see who is appointed chairman and what the remit is.

“If some institutions or care providers aren’t covered by the inquiry, to victims that suggests the Government thinks the abuse they suffered isn’t as important as those who were abused in groups that do fall within the remit. Clearly it’s a very sensitive issue.”

Alan Draper, a former Roman Catholic church adviser, is now the leading victims’ representative and he has said victims are demanding that the definition of institutional care must be widened beyond children’s homes to include any institution which owes a “duty of care”. There is also increasing concern that the church – despite being at the centre of abuse allegations – may escape full scrutiny.

Today’s announcement follows growing fears over the scale of child abuse, historically and currently.

Figures from Police Scotland released earlier this week showed that almost one in three rape victims in Scotland is under the age of 15.

The number has grown by five per cent in the last year, according to preliminary data.

The force revealed that in 2014-15, 28 per cent of all rape victims were aged 15 and under at the time of the offence, up from 23 per cent the previous year.

This month it was reported that 37 people in the public eye are among 110 suspects identified by Scottish police investigating alleged historical child sex abuse.

Police Scotland has 58 separate inquiries into the alleged crimes, under the umbrella of Operation Hydrant. The cases stretch back to 1947.