I am not joined by my colleague, Deputy Rabbitte, as she has been unavoidably detained in RTÉ studios. We had an agreement that I would take the issue and we speak with one voice on this matter.
I want to raise the issue of ongoing matters in Scouting Ireland in respect of historical child abuse cases. According to The Irish Times on 21 February, 313 alleged victims and 237 alleged abusers in Scouting Ireland have been identified. We have raised this issue today because there has not been any mechanism since the Minister's last appearance at the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs to articulate our concerns in respect of the drip-feeding of reports to the media without a parallel process in respect of these issues in place in the House. A mechanism must be found to ensure the Minister reports back to the House on these matters regularly.
I also wish to ask the Minister specifically when Mr. Elliott's report will be finalised and made public. This is a matter of grave public concern. Mr. Elliott was brought in by Scouting Ireland. He is a safeguarding expert whose bona fides are without question. However, it appears as though the lines of public communications seem to be between Mr. Elliott internally, the chief executive, presumably, and the line Department. We are concerned that this is quite a linear process which needs to be expanded. We need to see greater transparency around this.
I am also concerned that Scouting Ireland itself is managing the phoneline for those with concerns. Is it through Scouting Ireland, the Garda or Tusla that people should go? I do not believe that is right if a person is a victim or alleged victim, or that person wishes to report something. If a person has been traumatised by an organisation historically, it is very hard to have the confidence to return to that organisation to report allegations of abuse. I want to put that on the record as it is an issue that must be addressed. There are people who do not have confidence in Scouting Ireland, notwithstanding the bona fides of the child protection expert who has been brought in. They must have confidence that their issues will be dealt with through Scouting Ireland as the phoneline is currently constituted. There is a danger of revictimising people who have been traumatised.
Will the Minister consider an organisation such as One in Four being brought in to examine the mechanisms being used to deal with the historical cases? It could liaise with the external expert who has been hired as an internal adviser on child protection in Scouting Ireland. This liaison could take place through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and-or Tusla.