Sant Joan Ambulance did not investigate the predatory and abusive behavior, according to the review

An investigation into the governance of sexual abuse in the St John Ambulance service has found serious lapses in the organisation’s Garda control system, with poor child protection measures in place.

The report, by former child protection rapporteur Dr Geoffrey Shannon, will be shared with abuse survivors on Thursday.

The 230-page report includes accounts of predatory and abusive behavior at St John Ambulance, dating back to the early 1970s.

Considered Ireland’s oldest first aid organisation, St John Ambulance, now a registered charity, has played a vital role in providing medical care across the country for over a century.

The report, obtained by RTE investigatesreveals that inadequate child protection measures remained at the organization until the mid-2010s.

Commissioned in 2021, the review began after the admission of several men who had been sexually abused as teenagers by a senior ambulance crew officer in the 1990s.

The investigation finds that St John Ambulance did not adequately intervene or investigate suspicions or knowledge of child protection risks, even though these risks were highly visible.

The report also highlights that no formal investigation was carried out by the organization after the full disclosure of serious grooming and child sexual abuse in the late 1990s.

The ambulance “could and should have investigated suspicions and complaints of serious misconduct and victimisation”, the review says.

In conclusion, it found that St John Ambulance still does not have a definitive child protection policy.

The review also included allegations of recent incidents that had been reported to people in positions of authority within the organization.

A number of current and former volunteers described the ambulance service as “profoundly resistant to change”, the report said.

The report also found that previous allegations from survivors of past abuse were squashed and difficult to verify “due to poor record keeping”, Dr Shannon said.

The Sant Joan Ambulance board said so RTE investigates the long process was already complete, acknowledging the long wait of abuse survivors.

“This process, which includes legal and data protection dimensions, has now concluded, allowing the full unredacted report to be published.”

St John Ambulance also confirmed it would work with the Children’s Department as it implements the recommendations made by Dr Shannon.

talking with RTE investigatesTusla said: “Tusla has been in ongoing contact with St John Ambulance since 2019 to seek assurances that current child protection practices are in line with Children First. We are currently satisfied with the level of engagement on these issues.

“Once published, Tusla will review the report and follow up accordingly with St John Ambulance if current or retrospective child protection issues are identified in the report,” a spokesman said.

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