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Scouts have work to do on child sex abuse

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016 Rebekah Ison

Scouts NSW has never made a child sexual abuse redress payment and the movement has a lot of work to do before its response can be considered effective, a royal commission has heard.

Survivors are offered an apology, meeting with senior scout members and help with access to counselling.

But there is no framework for monetary payments and the organisation believes the best way for survivors to pursue compensation is through a Commonwealth scheme, set to be established by 2018.

A former NSW scout, who is seeking civil action over alleged abuse in the 1970s, said he has never been offered an apology and feels the movement's response has been as bad as the abuse itself.

"Especially what they said today that they were just waiting for the Commonwealth scheme to click in," he said outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Tuesday.

"That is really appalling to me and shows a complete disrespect to ... victims."

In a statement, Scouts NSW said the man, who says he contacted the organisation more than six months ago, was recognised as part of its "restorative engagement program" and will be receiving a letter inviting his participation "very shortly".

The royal commission was investigating how the NSW branch has addressed findings that it failed to deal appropriately with since-convicted pedophile scout leader Steven Larkin in the 1990s.

Scouts NSW chief commissioner Neville Tomkins said he believed the branch had learned from its policy "weaknesses" and that it was a "far safer organisation for young people".

But royal commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said it seemed there was more work to be done in the organisation.

"Probably quite a lot (of work), to bring a national response, or effective national response to these problems," he said.

Scouts NSW received a complaint about Larkin sleeping in a tent with a boy in 1994.

He was stood down but quickly joined another troop in Raymond Terrace where he became a district leader.

Three years later, Larkin received an official warning after a complaint about his conduct at a public pool, where he was buying lollies for children.

The royal commission found the official warning was not effectively communicated to other members and that regional commissioner Allan Currie was influenced by a desire to protect the reputation of Scouts NSW when handling Larkin.

Mr Tomkins said their would also be no change to their approach to civil claims until the Commonwealth scheme was announced, acknowledging it was not fair survivors had to wait so long.

"Our clear wish is that the federal government does in fact accelerate the implementation of the (redress) scheme," he said.

The royal commission heard there had been 39 fresh claims of both contemporary and historical abuse made to Scouts NSW since September 2013.

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