Girl Guides Australia Support of the Royal Commission: Clarification of Involvement with the Royal Commission
This Media Statement should assist to clarify that Girl Guides is eager to co-operate with the Royal Commission that currently there are no known incidents of child sexual abuse within Girl Guides and that Girl Guides is a separate organisation from Scouts.
Girl Guides Australia and its member organisations across Australia strongly supports the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and applauds the establishment and ongoing work of this Royal Commission.
Since the time of the announcement of the Royal Commission, all Australian Girl Guide organisations have worked co-operatively with the Commission. Girl Guides appointed a single representative to speak and act on behalf or all of Australian Girl Guides on matters relating to the Royal Commission and has established a committee dedicated to considering issues arising from the activities of the Royal Commission.
Using this single voice, Girl Guides Australia has provided feedback to the initial terms of reference and continued an open dialogue with representatives of the Royal Commission. On 8 March 2013 Girl Guides advised the Royal Commission that at that time there were no known cases of child sexual abuse within Girl Guides.
This remains the position at the time of this Media Statement.
On 4 April 2013, Girl Guides was mentioned, along with Scouts and Little Athletics, in the opening address of Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission. Subsequently, in media articles there was a reference to Girl Guides and a reader may have inferred from those media articles that there were incidences of child sexual abuse within Girl Guides.
Girl Guides reiterates that it informed the Commission that it was not aware of any incidents of child abuse and that position has not changed.
Girl Guides Australia is a member of a world-wide voluntary organisation – the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) – which promotes and encourages the development of girls and women. Our Mission is to enable girls and young women to grow into confident, self respecting, responsible community members. Girl Guides has always been an organisation concerned with the wellbeing of girls. By way of example in 2011 a WAGGGS and UNWOMEN collaboration resulted in Girl Guides across the world making a formal commitment to the project ‘Stop the violence. Speak out for girls’ rights’: http://www.wagggsworld.org/en/news/21277
As the name of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts suggests Girl Guides is an organisation that had similar origins to Boy Scouts. These two organisations were formed with inspiration from Lord Baden-Powell but have been separate organisations since their inception.
In keeping with our commitment to promote the safety of all children Girl Guides will follow the Royal Commission proceedings with interest.
For further information on Girl Guides Australia and this media release please call: Joanne Muller (02 9311 8000).
Media Release: 3 September 2013