Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Governance and Child Safeguarding Issues in Scouting Ireland: Tusla and Scouting Ireland

10:00 am

Mr. Ian Elliott:

It is important to realise an allegation is not always clear-cut. It could be an expression of concern. We try to respond to it quickly by making two members of the safeguarding team available to the young person concerned in order that we can get some sense of his or her concern and what is worrying him or her if an incident has occurred.

We try to do that in the company of their parents or if the parents are not there, they do so with the scout leader. As soon as we have gathered that information and looked at it, we pass it on to the appropriate statutory authorities. It is a simple, straightforward process from our point of view. We gather the information and we make ourselves available to the young people. It may well be that what we are dealing with is something which has been observed by an adult, and we respond to it in the same way. We have a process of very quick response. It is a child-focused process and one which meets the statutory obligations, of which we are very conscious. It is also one we regularly review with the statutory agencies - the people we are referring to - as to whether we are doing what they want us to do and doing it in the way they want us to do it, and so on. It is not a fixed process where we just decide. The idea that we interrogate children is alien from what is the reality on the ground.