The ISPCC has responded to the broadcast of an RTÉ Investigates documentary, ‘Scouts Dis-honour’, which outlined allegations of historic child sexual abuse in the Scouting Association of Ireland and the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland.
The national child protection charity has supported calls for a full independent and public inquiry into the allegations and how they were mishandled by the bodies.
The ISPCC stated that organisations working with children have a duty to ensure they have robust policies in place to protect children and that these must be upheld by every individual working with an organisation.
ISPCC Chief Executive John Church said: “Ireland has a bleak history of not listening to children and not acting in their best interests.
“This is not the first occasion on which this country has encountered a litany of historic child sexual abuse allegations relating to an organisation which parents throughout the country entrusted with the care of their children. It is imperative that stringent procedures are put in place to ensure that those in a parenting role can be confident nothing of this nature can ever be allowed to happen in future.
“All children have a right to be safe and a right to be protected. Their needs and welfare must come first.
“Children First legislation clearly outlines that organisations which have children in their care must have certain standards in place. It is equally important that children are educated to identify inappropriate behaviour and a telling culture is created where children are empowered and facilitated to tell an adult they trust on any occasion on which they encounter such behaviour.
“In supporting calls for a public inquiry into these allegations, the ISPCC also acknowledges how scouting bodies and volunteers have positively impacted communities across Ireland.
“ISPCC Childline is always here to listen to any child or young person who would like to talk about any issue which may be on their mind. Children can contact Childline in a number of ways – by calling 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours), chatting online at Childline.ie (10am – 4am daily), or texting to 50101 (10am – 4am daily).”