A report on past sexual abuse in Scouting Ireland concludes there was cover up

An independent report into past cases of sexual abuse in Scouting Ireland has concluded there was cover up and a failure to report abuse.

The Historical Sexual Abuse in Scouting: A Learning Review’ was commissioned by Scouting Ireland to examine the incidence of sexual abuse that is believed to have happened within scouting.  The report’s author is Ian Elliott, Child Protection Consultant.

The report finds that abuse did happen and was not responded to in a way that protected the young person or sought to hold the offender to account.  The conclusion reached is that there appears to have been an almost complete absence of any concern for the young people who were abused and even where attempts were made to support them such attempts were poorly recorded.

Mr Elliott found that a characteristic of the poor governance was the existence of a culture driven by self-interest and that small cliques emerged and played too great a part in how the scouting bodies operated.  He commented “Individuals who had a sexual interest in young people rose to positions of power and influence on occasions and controlled any fledgling accountability processes, preventing known offenders from being removed from scouting.

The conclusion in the Learning Review is that independent monitoring of practice and strict adherence to robust accountability processes are crucial to ensuring that the progress that Scouting Ireland has made continues.

In response to the review Scouting Ireland said it “unreservedly accepts the findings of this Learning review in their entirety” and issued an official apology.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has said consideration is being given as to whether a statutory inquiry into Scouting Ireland would uncover new information.


Catherine Davey, Associate, BLM

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