Update on Sexual Abuse Allegations in Scouting Ireland
Children’s Minister, Katherine Zappone, stated yesterday that there have been an additional 80 people who have contacted the Scouts helpline within the last week. The Minister also added that she will get a verified update on the number of alleged victims and alleged perpetrators by mid-December.
Although that number may seem high, it is almost certain that there will be a lot more complainants out there yet to come forward as most victims may not be inclined to contact Scouting Ireland at all, and instead they may prefer to contact their solicitors to instruct them to commence legal proceedings on their behalf.
Ms Zappone has said that she has been reassured that Scouting Ireland is taking these shocking revelations very seriously. I have no doubt that is the case and that there may be goodwill there on the part of the Scouts management to handle these matters in a responsible and sensitive way but nonetheless I would expect these matters to be fully defended. I would also advise any victims contemplating bringing an action against their abuser and Scouting Ireland to be prepared for a process that may take longer than is being flagged by the Minister and Scouting Ireland.
However, as was the case with the institutional abuse claims, personal stories changed how we did things in Ireland. And the campaign to repeal the Eighth amendment was won by people talking about how it affected their lives. This should be no different.
Many of the victims will live a life with conditions including depression, addictions, insomnia, eating disorders, anger issues, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, victim mentality, attachment disorder, Stockholm syndrome, dissociative disorder and more.
Through hearing people’s stories of their abuse and how it affected their lives, it is possible that our legislators will be moved, or forced, to deal with these complaints in a comprehensive and swift manner and then tackle the issues surrounding sexual abuse.
Deciding to take action
I am currently representing about a dozen victims who were abused whilst in the Scouts and I know that not all people take the same amount of time to come to grips with what happened to them; some bury the memories deep in the subconscious as a survival and coping mechanism and some are slow to acknowledge that it has affected them adversely. Others may just have reservations about sticking their heads above the parapet, anxious about having to engage with the Courts and they think it could be more hassle than its worth. The pursuit of justice can be an emotional rollercoaster but every victim I have represented always remark that the process was at times difficult but ultimately therapeutic, caused them to deal with difficult issues and provided them with some sense of closure. – Daniel O’Connell
If have any questions stemming from any of the above or you have been abused and you want to talk to a solicitor about your options, please feel free to contact me at this office.