SCOUTING Ireland is planning to set up a fund to help victims of abuse within scouting circles across the country.
In an update to its members, Scouting Ireland said that emergency financial measures are being considered in the wake of revelations in recent weeks of abuse by more than 300 perpetrators against more than 210 victims, largely from the 1960s to the 1990s.
One man was arrested and questioned in Cork in recent weeks on foot of a complaint received from one former scout member. He was released without charge.
And a file has been sent to Tusla in relation to allegations of abuse against another Corkman, by a different person.
According to the organisation, the funds are needed to provide “resources and support” and “will be finalised in January 2019”.
The update continued: “In particular, we need to set up a fund to support the victims.
“These are our brother and sister Scouts who have been abused in the past by members of our own legacy organisations.
“It is time to turn our face towards them and look after them. They should never have been treated this way.”
The organisation’s board added: “We hope that those who are coming forward, and all our members, are reassured by the actions we are taking. We also hope that they are reassured by the safeguarding protocols in place in our organisation today.”
As part of the emergency financial measures, rebates to Scout Counties have been cancelled for 2019, and a grant scheme for scout dens will not be in operation this year.
The communication to members added: “An increase in membership fees or a group contribution is imminent and a dedicated communication will be issued as soon as possible in relation to this.”
On December 11, Scouting Ireland revealed that the organisation now knows “of 212 known and alleged perpetrators and of 317 alleged victims, over the last 70 years”.
In a separate letter issued to all scouts across the country last month, SI board chairwoman, Aisling Kelly, said the organisation was saddened by allegations about abuse by perpetrators in scouting circles.
She wrote: “It is important that we acknowledge the terrible wrongs of the past — the majority of these cases occurred between the 1960s and the 1980s and that we support those who are now speaking for the first time, some having lived with this heavy burden for many years.
“We have informed the relevant statutory authorities of alleged perpetrators still alive, and will co-operate fully with any criminal investigations.”
She stressed, however: “It is important to reiterate that none of the alleged perpetrators are active in Scouting Ireland today.”
Scouting Ireland has set up a helpline which can be contacted on 1800 221199, while a dedicated Tusla helpline can be reached on 1800 805665.