Friday 20 September 2019

Scouting Ireland identifies more than 300 alleged child abuse victims

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone expresses 'grave concern' as more than 212 alleged abusers identified

Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)
Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)
Jane Last

Jane Last

Scouting Ireland have identified 317 alleged victims, and 212 alleged perpetrators following a review of historical files and a calls to a confidential helpline.

This is up significantly on the previous numbers issued last month, which stood at 108 alleged victims and 71 alleged abusers.

The updated numbers were provided in a statement issued by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone earlier this evening. She said they were contained in written update she had received from Scouting Ireland.

She emphasised that all alleged abuse victims who have already come forward must be properly supported and counselled and that the same level of support must be made available to any further victims that may come forward.

“The increase in the number of alleged victims and alleged perpetrators identified during the past two weeks are a matter of grave concern and once again underline the serious challenges facing Scouting Ireland.

"As more people come forward with further information to Scouting Ireland, Tusla the child and family agency, Gardaí and other front-line support services these numbers will in all probability increase.

"The public should be aware of this.

"All the agencies involved continue to work on providing verified figures.

"Supporting victims is my top priority. I would encourage anybody who has been abused or who wishes to name an alleged perpetrator to come forward,” she said.

The minister met with representatives of Scouting Ireland last month to discuss previous revelations that 108 alleged victims, and 71 alleged abusers had been identified by Scouting Ireland.

At this meeting, which was on November 28, the representatives agreed to providing the Minister with written updates every two weeks.

They gave their first written update - which contained the new numbers - on Friday.

The Scouting Ireland confidential Freephone helpline is 1800 221199.  The number is operational from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

Tusla has also put a confidential helpline in place, 1800 805665 and this is operational from  9am to 4pm. 

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