Scouts NSW must show genuine compassion for abuse victims
31 May 2018
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers today welcomed Scouts Australia joining the national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse, but warned its NSW division has treated victims poorly.
Personal injury lawyer, Danielle De Paoli represents many survivors of abuse from a variety of institutions, but says Scouts NSW stands out as one of the worst defendants in its refusal to engage meaningfully with people seeking redress for the abuse they suffered as children while under its care.
“Maurice Blackburn has a number of clients who experienced appalling sexual abuse at the hands of people working for Scouts Australia,” Ms De Paoli said.
“Until today’s announcement that it will sign up to the redress scheme, Scouts – namely Scouts NSW - had proved to be one of the very few, perhaps the only institution, that remained undaunted and unmoved by the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
“Even the Royal Commission Chairman, Justice Peter McLellan had to remind the organisation three years after its first appearance at the Commission that Scouts had a lot of work to do to bring an effective national response to these problems.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the organisation’s new commitment and hope it will bring about real change in how it deals with survivors, particularly at Scouts NSW which has an appalling track record,” Ms De Paoli said.
Ms De Paoli said Scouts NSW was particularly renowned for putting up unnecessary and cruel hurdles to settling the civil claims of those abused under its care compared to other institutional defendants.
“Scouts NSW usually refused to engage in the process of redress in a meaningful or genuine manner, and when it did make offers of compensation and apology, these were often astonishingly low and mealy-mouthed,” Ms De Paoli said.
“We have clients who made civil claims years ago to Scouts about paedophiles within its organisation in the past but Scouts NSW to this day has yet to make an offer.
“Today is an opportunity to say to Scouts NSW that we look forward to this appalling treatment of child abuse survivors becoming a thing of the past now that the national organisation has committed itself to the redress scheme,” Ms De Paoli said.