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Scouts Australia apologises for history of child sex abuse

Scouts Australia have issued an apology to the survivors of child sex abuse but organisations warn that it may not be enough

Scouts Australia have apologised to child sex abuse victims who suffered during their time at the organisation.

Following a Royal Commission that found the organisation had a long history of child sex abuse allegations, the organisation admitted they did not listen when victims came forward. They have now adopted a new National Child Protection Policy.

Scouts Australia Chief Commission of Australia, Phil Harrison, said: “We apologise unreservedly to those who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting.

“We failed you and we apologise for the pain this has caused. Scouts Australia has a responsibility to survivors of abuse and we will honour that.”

Scouts said the apology was part of its commitment to acknowledge survivors. The Royal Commission heard the Scouting movement had a long history of child sex abuse allegations, and there was a lot of work left to do to respond to victims.

Scouts Australia was one of the first non-government organisations to look into joining the National Redress Scheme for child sexual abuse survivors.

Presidents of the Blue Knot Foundation, Dr Cathy Kezelman, welcomed the apology, but said there was much more to be done for survivors.

“Scouts Australia is one of the institutions that is acknowledging the harm done and committing that they have changed. Obviously any institution can give an apology and those are words. What we need to see now and forever is action and real change.”

Kezelman added that the Scouts Australia apology was significant ahead of a national apology, due to be delivered on October 22. She adds, however, that it would not mend the harm done to all survivors on its own.

“For survivors who were abused in different institutions obviously for many of those it would be meaningful for their institution to give an apology also,” Kezelman said.

“An apology is just one part of what many survivors seek. Survivors need a lot more – they need support, they need pathways to justice.”

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