Some of the charges, it is understood, are related to alleged events of over half a century ago.
Police have said that eleven women and one man have been arrested and charged and four more individuals are being reported to the Crown Office in connection with the investigations.
The sudden and unexpected move by the police followed allegations made during the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry into events at Smyllum, run for over a century by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul order of nuns; it closed in 1981 after housing an estimated 11,600 children since it opened in 1864.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said that the charges brought so far related to “non-recent” incidents.
She said that those arrested were aged between 62 and 85 years old.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said it had instructed police to investigate the allegations of abuse at Smyllum, a spokesman adding: “As a result of those investigations, we received information from Police Scotland, which has been considered by our expert team and it has been determined, in concultation with police, that further investigation is required into allegations against a number of individuals relating to the Daughters of Charity.”