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.
Around 60 children were subjected to footage of child sex abuse, while they were taking part in a fitness class on Zoom, on Tuesday 5 May. The Zoom call had been hacked by someone who streamed the video of the abuse into the session, in a practice known as ‘Zoombombing’. The class had been organised by a sports club in Plymouth and it is believe the hacker gained access as a result of the group’s login details having been published on public internet forums.
Devon and Cornwall police officers are working with Plymouth City Council’s social care team to identify all those who saw the footage, and may have been affected by seeing the images, so as to provide them with any advice or support, as required.
In July, 2015 Magnus Meyer Hustveit pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court in Ireland to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault committed against his 28-year-old girlfriend between 2011 and 2012.
Hustveit who is Norwegian had sent an email to his former partner, Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill where he admitted to using Ms Ní Dhomhnaill body for his sexual gratification while she was asleep. At the time Ms Ní Dhomhnaill was taking medication that made her sleep heavily.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has issued advice to its member clubs not to use WhatsApp, in concern about what material is shared, often in error, and how it is controlled. Group chats are often a very useful way of getting out news and arrangements for teams and clubs to the players, their parents and club members. However the ease of access to the chats, the ease of adding material and the potential for errors, makes this a potential banana skin for those who operate the chat.
In October, 2019 the Irish High Court granted permission to Helen Maguire and Christine Skipsey to issue the proceedings against St Patrick’s Guild.
The two women intend to sue the Catholic adoption society over the mixing up of babies in the 1960s.
The approval of the court was required under the Companies Act as the company behind the adoption society, St Patrick’s Guild (Incorporated), is in voluntary liquidation.
The case is one of several due to be issued against the adoption society which operated at Temple Hill in Blackrock, Co Dublin.
At a Cabinet Meeting just before Christmas, the Irish Minister for Health, Simon Harris outlined plans by the Irish Government to spend €5 million on expert advisors, counselling staff and an extensive research project to address the legacy of mother and baby homes and the effects of that legacy on an estimated 57,000 former residents.
The proposed funding breaks down as follows:
- €1.4m to the Health Service Executive the Irish equivalent of the NHS for 25 additional counselling staff to support the psychological needs of former residents of the mother and baby homes;
- €600,000 to fund the appointment of four expert advisors who will be tasked with creating a “bespoke” counselling and well-being service including computer costs and support staff.
The Health Research Board will also fund a dedicated research study aimed at improving the health and well-being of former residents of mother and baby homes, which is estimated to cost €1m.
Readers of the blog will be aware that we have recently reported on serious issues that have arisen in respect of Tusla and the exercise of its statutory duties in our blog of the 21 June and 3 September 2019.
The Irish Child and Family Agency came in for further criticism in a judgment handed down in the Irish High Court on 2 September by Mr Justice Meenan.
The case before the High Court arose in circumstances where a teacher was accused of smacking a female student on the bottom and allegedly making inappropriate comments to her.
The Irish Quality Agency (HIQA) has criticised the agency responsible for managing allegations of abuse in Ireland. It found that fewer than half of the cases of suspected child abuse in the South Dublin area had been reported to the Gardai (Irish police) in a timely manner.
It also found that children identified as at risk were not receiving regular home visits from social workers with gaps of six weeks or more recorded.
On Wednesday this week Mr Justice Peter Kelly, President of the Irish High Court granted leave to initiate legal action against State Agencies on behalf of a woman who was allegedly sexually abused by more than 12 men when she was a child. The proposed legal action against the State Agencies is to be based on their failure to protect her from the alleged abuse.
Scouting Ireland is expected to issue an institutional apology to victims of abuse in the organisations which preceded the creation of the Irish scouting group. Scouting Ireland was created when Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland and the Scout Association of Ireland merged into a single organisation.
It is believed there have been over 320 victims identified and almost 250 alleged abusers not including cases of peer abuse allegations. Investigations into allegations have been on going for some time now and a recent report to the Irish Minister for Children suggests that the organisation will be making an open apology to all victims.