Scouts Australia welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to establish a national Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia. Scouts will assist The Commission in whatever way possible.
Scouts has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind and for decades has had a policy and practice to report all instances of potential child abuse to police. Scouts has always made records and files freely available to the Police and other child protection authorities.
Scouts is particularly pleased that this inquiry will encompass the full range of organisations which care for children across the community. Identifying the ways that child abusers avoid detection or avoid being reported is crucial to prevent their access to children in other organisations.
Scouts hopes that the Commission’s scrutiny of current community organisation’s policies and practices will lead to more rigorous and stringent processes for groups to report and reject suspected child abusers across the entire community. A serious and deep attention to reporting in every organisation should help provide victims greater confidence to report sexual abuse matters.
In addition, Scouts urges the Commission to include a review of sentencing laws for child abuse offenders across the country. Penalties should reflect the severity of the crime.
Scouts has developed robust and vigilant child protection policies in all States and Territories, working with the full range of Child Protection Agencies. There are mandatory police checks for all adult volunteer Leaders and compulsory training to maximise child safety. Scouts is a family based organisation and we strongly encourage as many parents as possible to be actively involved in all our programs.
Scouts urges all parents to be familiar with the child protection policies in their community organisations and to talk to children sensitively about these issues. Ideas to improve safety for children are always welcome and Scouts looks forward to the recommendations of The Commission.
Scouts is grateful to the many thousands of Leaders, parents and supporters of Australian Scouting who work tirelessly to mentor and to enrich the lives of so many children in the community through our personal development and educational programs and activities, whilst also ensuring their safety and protection.
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