Scouting Ireland has identified 317 alleged victims and 212 alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse following a review of historical files and the opening of a confidential helpline.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone issued the latest figures after she received an update from Scouting Ireland confirming the numbers involved.

In a statement, Ms Zappone said the new figures were the outcome of the continued review of historical files, as well as the numbers of people coming forward with information about alleged abuse.

The figure has risen significantly since 71 alleged abusers and 108 alleged victims were identified in late November.

Ms Zappone said she believes that this number will "in all probability increase" as more people come forward with information to Scouting Ireland, child and family agency Tusla, gardaí and other front-line support services.

Ms Zappone said that the increase in the number of alleged victims and alleged perpetrators identified during the past two weeks were "a matter of grave concern and once again underline the serious challenges facing Scouting Ireland".

She said that all alleged abuse victims who have already come forward must be properly supported and counseled, and that the same level of support must be made available to any further victims who may be identified.

The minister said that supporting them was her top priority and that she would encourage anybody who has been abused or who wishes to name an alleged perpetrator to come forward.

Child safeguarding expert Ian Elliott has been heading up an internal review of abuse within Scouting Ireland.

In April, Ms Zappone suspended State funding to Scouting Ireland over grave concerns about its governance.

It followed an allegation by a female scout leader in 2016 that she had been raped seven years earlier while on a scouting trip when she was 18.

The man whom the allegation was made against was suspended from the Scouts pending an investigation.

The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to prosecute. However, he was not garda vetted before returning to the Scouts, despite a recommendation by gardaí.

Tusla has told RTÉ News that a helpline number given out this evening by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for people who have been victims of child sexual abuse is no longer operational.

The confidential helpline number was listed in a press release from the department.

Following a query from RTÉ News, Tusla has confirmed that the phone number listed is defunct.

It has asked victims of child abuse through Scouting Ireland to instead contact their local Tusla Social Welfare office.

Tusla says the offices are listed by county online at Tusla.ie.


Scouting Ireland confidential Freephone helpline 1800 221199 (operational from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday).