Scouts Australia apologises to child abuse victims
SCOUTS Australia has apologised to those who were sexually abused as children by members of its organisation.
The apology is part of Scouts Australia’s commitment to acknowledge and address the harm some members suffered and comes in the wake of the child abuse royal commission.
Chief Commissioner Phil Harrison said the “genuine and heartfelt” apology was being made on behalf of all state and territory scout branches.
“We apologise unreservedly to those who suffered abuse during their time in scouting,” Mr Harrison said.
“We failed you and we apologise for the pain that this has caused.
“Scouts Australia has a responsibility to survivors of abuse and we will honour that.”
Scouts Australia has signed on to a national redress scheme, to compensate and make amends to survivors, that came into force on July 1.
Senior members of the organisation have met with survivors around Australia and made personal apologies, Commissioner Harrison said in a video posted on its website on Friday.
“We are willing to meet with anyone else who wishes to meet with us,” he added.
“We apologise for not listening when some of you shared your stories with adults in Scouting who you trusted.”
Scouts Australia, which is 110 years old, has contributed to the development of more than two million young Australians, Commissioner Harrison said.
“However, for some of you this was not a positive experience and you have suffered.”
Scouts was among the first non-government organisations to indicate it was likely join the redress scheme, before it officially joined in May.
In 2013, the federal government appointed a royal commission to conduct a multiyear investigation into child sexual abuse in institutional settings across Australian society.
A 2016 heard Scouts had a “long history” of child sex abuse allegations and had work to do in terms of effectively handling complaints.
The commission heard there was 39 fresh allegations of child sexual abuse involving Scouts NSW, including historical and contemporary claims, from 2013 to 2016.
The inquiry also heard there was delays in responding to alleged victims sexual abuse complaints within Scouts NSW.
Free vaccination program starts in SA
A vaccine could have saved 18-year-old Jack Klemich from the meningococcal B disease that suddenly took his life nine years ago.
For his dad, Oren Klemich, the South Australian government’s new free vaccination program – an Australian first – is “$31 million brilliantly spent”.
“This is saving lives and this is going to save a lot of heartache,” he said on Monday – the first day babies and children under four years old had access the free immunisations.
The program will save parents up to $500 per child and is expected to prevent an average of 12 cases of meningococcal B each year.
A program for year 10 students will begin in February 2019, along with an adolescent and young adult catch-up program.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said there has been 382 cases of the disease in South Australia since 2000, including 14 deaths – 70 per cent of deaths in people aged under 21.
He said the program has been designed to target the age groups deemed at highest risk of contracting the disease.
“The program is based on expert advice which recommends that we target infants, children and young adults,” he said.
“There’s a very high awareness of meningococcal B in the South Australian community, so we’re hoping that will drive a very high take-up rate.”
Mr Wade said the vaccines were being distributed across the state and there were no concerns about shortages.
“We’ll be making sure that supplies keep up with demand, because it’s very important we get this program in place and provide maximum protection for South Australian families,” he said.
Mr Klemich says the program will save lives and spare other families the pain of losing a child to the disease.
“We wish this vaccine had been around then,” he said.
“Our lives would be very different, as would, of course, his. We miss him.”
Vaccines for children aged between six weeks and under four years are available through GPs, local government immunisation clinics, Aboriginal health services, Child and Family Health Services and Country Health SA.
The Bachelor 2018: the finale
BREAKING all the rules, The Bachelor’s Nick Cummins has turned his back on love — and Australia — by dumping both finalists on Thursday night’s finale, choosing to go home alone after wasting everyone’s time.
He’s double dumped. That phrase already sounds unfortunate. But the narrative behind its use for this story is even more unforgivable.
Brittany Hockley and Sophie Tieman are dumped next to a lap pool in New Caledonia after being led on for two months.
Both breakups are excruciating to watch, but Britt’s is particularly painful. Mainly because she cops a three-part breakup. Nothing’s more agonising than a breakup that’s drawn out into a three-stage process.
It was teased as the series finale that would shock Australia. The only thing that could make it even more dramatic is if Nick dumped both Brittany and Sophie and then flew stalker Cass over to reject her on TV again.
“What a giant waste of time that was,” Brittany says, identifying the exact sentiment of the nation.
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