A married couple inflicted "casual and routine violence" at a children's home where youngsters were beaten and had their faces rubbed in puddles of urine, a court heard.
Morag and Anthony Jordan, both 62, from Kirriemuir, Angus, were accused of acting like "intimidating bullies" during their time working at the Haut de la Garenne home on the island of Jersey.
The pair face a combined total of 48 counts of common assault, dating from the 1970s and 1980s. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
At the opening of a trial being held at the Royal Court of Jersey, prosecuting advocate Stephen Baker accused the couple of "routinely" hitting children with their hands, kitchen implements and shoes.
He claimed that Morag Jordan, originally from Dundee, pushed the faces of children as young as two into urine soaked sheets or puddles on the floor.
Their behaviour caused "physical and mental distress" he told jurors.
The court is due to hear from a succession of witnesses who claim to have been subjected to assaults described by Mr Baker as "frequent and callous".
They relate to incidents at Haut de la Garenne between 1970 and 1984.
The children's home was the subject of a lengthy and high-profile police investigation into allegations of abuse.
Prior to the prosecution's opening, Commissioner Sir Christopher Pitchers, presiding over the trial, warned jurors against being swayed by what they thought they knew about the police probe.