Scouts Australia sorry for child sex abuse victims

This July 5, 2016 file photo shows Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce (right) looking at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) during a press conference in Sydney (AFP pic)

SYDNEY: Scouts Australia Friday apologised “unreservedly” to children who were sexually abused during their time with the organisation, saying it had failed them.

The apology followed a five-year royal commission, which concluded in late 2017, detailing thousands of harrowing child sex abuse cases involving Australian churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools over decades.

“We apologise unreservedly to those who suffered abuse during their time in scouting,” Scouts Australia chief commissioner Philip Harrison said in a statement.

“We failed you and we apologise for the pain that this has caused.”

The youth group is among several organisations that have joined a national redress scheme to support victims with counselling, psychological care and financial payments.

Harrison said Scouts Australia had “learned a great deal” from listening to sexual abuse survivors and the royal commission, after previously “not listening when some of you shared your stories with adults in scouting who you trusted”.

The association, which has operated in Australia for more than a century, said it has adopted a comprehensive national child protection policy which is continually reviewed.

The royal commission found Australian institutions “seriously failed” children in their care with tens of thousands sexually assaulted.

More than 15,000 survivors detailing their claims, some decades-old, with over 4,000 institutions accused of abuse.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is due to deliver a national apology to abuse victims on October 22.