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Scouting Ireland seeks to reassure its members after child safety procedures criticised

It’s been reported that the Children Minister has requested the report that criticised the organisation’s child safety procedures.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/IMG Stock Studio

SCOUTING IRELAND HAS sought to reassure its members after the organisation’s child safety procedures were reportedly criticised as “deeply flawed”.

According to an Irish Times article published today, a report compiled by a child safety expert Ian Elliott raised serious concerns with the organisation’s standards in dealing with complaints.

Scouting Ireland aims to get children and young adults “involved in outdoor adventures and challenges” in order to learn practical skills and develop socially. Under its ‘Scouting Safely’ policy, it says that the safety of youth and adult members of Scouting Ireland “is vital”.

As a consequence of the reports, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has asked to see the full report “as a matter of urgency”, according to the Irish Times.

Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell said that the concerns raised in the report were “alarming”.

“Our priority now must is to ensure the safety of our young people,” he said, adding that Scouting Ireland should outline their child protection procedures.

In response to the Irish Times reports, Scouting Ireland issued a statement on their website seeking to reassure its members that their safety ”is and always will be of paramount importance”.

“We have, as you are aware through your training and experience in Scouting, strong safeguarding procedures which are entirely in line with best practice, as well as required by the relevant legislation and we have statutory reporting in place.

“Equally we have responsibilities to the relevant statutory agencies, across this island. I can confirm that these responsibilities are strictly observed.”

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It said that it would continue to monitor and review their procedures in relation to child safety. It said that some recommendations made to them by an expert in June 2017 had ”already been implemented while the remainder are in the process of being done”.

We welcome the comprehensive review recently undertaken and the report produced and we continue to work with the safeguarding expert on our policies and procedures, in this area.

“Together we will continue to provide fun, challenging and safe activities for our thousands of youth members across Ireland.”

Farrell said he would raise this issue with the Children and Youth Affairs Committee at its next meeting.

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