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YMCA NSW apologises for failing to protect children

YMCA NSW apologises for failing to protect children
July 3, 2014

The YMCA NSW has apologised to the children and families who were the victims of a paedophile who worked in a childcare centre for three years.

It also acknowledged its failure to implement child protection procedures.

The apology came on Wednesday (2nd July) as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to  Child Sexual Abuse published its findings into the childcare operator's recruitment of and reaction to the arrest of Jonathan Lord, who is now in jail for abusing 13 children between the ages of six and 11.

In a statement, YMCA NSW explains "YMCA NSW sincerely apologises to the children who were abused, as well as the families and colleagues who have been affected by the actions of Lord."

It also said it had begun, and intends to take further, proactive measures to improve child protection policies and processes.

The findings in the commission's report are welcome, it said, and acknowledged that through the commission process "failings have been identified in its procedures and in the implementation of its policies, including child protection".

The statement on its website said that it would "continue to work closely with the Department of Education and Communities and industry bodies to ensure we are operating at best practice."

During the hearing last October, YMCA NSW blamed junior staff for not applying the child safe procedures in which they had been trained.

In findings on Wednesday, the Commission found the organisation had not trained staff adequately.

In its 165-page report, the Commission said the fact "abuse occurred in the way it did at Caringbah calls into question the child safety practices of YMCA NSW".

It noted YMCA NSW was already implementing changes and accepted "many of its policies and procedures and their implementation were deficient and required improvement".

The YMCA's statement said it had has a zero tolerance for any form of child abuse and was "committed to keeping children safe and fostering an environment where children and young people can learn and grow and are respected and valued."

Parents of children abused by Lord will welcome Wednesday's findings. Many of them had legal representation at the hearing.

Several gave evidence that the YMCA was not forthcoming with information when Lord was arrested, causing great anxiety.

The YMCA said police had told them not to talk about the case. The Commission on Wednesday found "it was not unreasonable" of the YMCA to interpret the police instructions the way it did.

YMCA NSW Chief Executive Philip Hare resigned in May following criticism by the Commission.

Click here to read the YMCA NSW statement in full.

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