Belfast Telegraph

317 alleged victims emerge in Scouting Ireland abuse probe

The period during which abuse is believed to have taken place at the organisation is between the 1960s and 1980s.

More than 300 alleged victims have been identified in a probe into claims of historical abuse within Scouting Ireland.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, said a list of 212 alleged perpetrators has also been compiled.

The minister revealed the numbers, which she described as being “a matter of grave concern”, on Tuesday as she gave an update on the situation.

The increase in the number of alleged victims and alleged perpetrators identified during the past two weeks are a matter of grave concern. Katherine Zappone

She received a written update from Scouting Ireland which confirmed that, based on the continued review of historical files and 123 calls to a confidential helpline, they have now identified 317 alleged victims and 212 alleged perpetrators.

Scouting Ireland has 40,000 child members and 13,000 adult volunteers.

A new board, elected earlier this year, vowed to make safeguarding of children and adults its “number one priority”.

The period during which abuse is believed to have taken place at the young person’s organisation is between the 1960s and 1980s.

Ms Zappone said 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 alleged 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,” she said.

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Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone (PA Archive).

“As more people come forward with further information to Scouting Ireland, Tusla, the child and family agency, Gardai and other frontline 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.”

Ms Zappone said supporting victims is her top priority.

“I would encourage anybody who has been abused or who wishes to name an alleged perpetrator to come forward,” she said.

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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