Child protection policy


It is the policy of The Scout Association to safeguard the welfare of all members by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm.

Accordingly The Scout Association is committed to:

  • taking into account in all its considerations and activities the interests and well-being of young people
  • respecting the rights, wishes and feelings of the young people with whom it is working
  • taking all reasonable practicable steps to protect them from physical, sexual and emotional harm
  • promoting the welfare of young people and their protection within a relationship of trust.

Code of Behaviour

DO put this code into practice at all times.

DO treat everyone with dignity and respect.

DO set an example you would wish others to follow.

DO treat all young people equally - show no favouritism.

DO plan activities that involve more than one other person being present, or at least are within sight and hearing of others.

DO follow recommended adult/young people ratios for meetings and activities.

DO respect a young person’s right to personal privacy.

DO avoid unacceptable situations within a relationship of trust e.g. a sexual relationship with a youth Member over the age of consent.

DO have separate sleeping accommodation for young people, adults and Young Leaders working with a younger section.

DO allow young people to talk about any concerns they may have.

DO encourage others to challenge any attitudes or behaviours they do not like.

DO avoid being drawn into inappropriate attention seeking behaviour e.g. tantrums and crushes.

DO follow the Association’s 'no alcohol' guidance when young people are in your care.

DO make everyone aware of the Association’s child protection procedures - young people, parents/carers, Young Leaders and other helpers.

DO remember this code even at sensitive moments e.g. when responding to bullying, bereavement or abuse.

DO keep other Leaders informed of where you are and what you are doing.

DO remember someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well-intentioned.

DO take any allegations or concerns of abuse seriously and refer immediatelyDO NOT trivialise abuse.

DO NOT form a relationship with a young person that is an abuse of trust.

DO NOT permit abusive peer activities e.g. initiation ceremonies, bullying.        

DO NOT drink alcohol when you are directly responsible for young people and never allow young people on Scouting activities to drink alcohol.                        

DO NOT engage in inappropriate behaviour or contact - physical, verbal, sexual.

DO NOT play physical contact games with young people.

DO NOT make suggestive remarks or threats to a young person, even in fun.

DO NOT use inappropriate language – writing, phoning, email or internet.

DO NOT let allegations, suspicions, or concerns about abuse go unreported.

DO NOT just rely on your good name to protect you.


If you have a concern about a young person’s safety and well being:

  1. Immediately tell your Group Scout Leader or District Commissioner
  2. Write careful notes of what you witnessed, heard or was told
  3. Sign, date and pass your notes to your District Commissioner
  4. Ensure that no Scouting situation arises which could cause any further concern

If a young person tells you about abuse by someone else:

  1. Allow the young person to speak without interruption, accepting what is said
  2. Offer immediate understanding and reassurance, while passing no judgement
  3. Advise that you will try to offer support but that you must pass the information
  4. Immediately tell your Group Scout Leader or District Commissioner
  5. Write careful notes of what was said; use actual words wherever possible
  6. Sign, date and pass your notes to your District Commissioner
  7. Ensure that no Scouting situation arises which could cause any further concern

Note: In an emergency (young person at imminent risk of significant harm) contact police or social service/work department direct. Inform your District Commissioner of the action you have taken.

If you receive a complaint or allegation about any adult or about yourself:

  1. Immediately tell your Group Scout Leader or District Commissioner
  2. Write careful notes of what you witnessed, heard or was told
  3. Sign, date and pass your notes to your District Commissioner
  4. Try to ensure no-one is placed in a position which could cause further compromise

Note: Any Adult in Scouting has the right to report any concerns, or suspicions about another Member in confidence and free from harassment.

You must refer; you must not investigate.

Anti-Bullying policy

“Children have the right to protection from all forms of violence (physical or mental). They must be kept safe from harm and they must be given proper care by those looking after them.” [The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 19]

The Scout Association is committed to this ethos and seeks to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the prevention of all forms of bullying among members. To this end all Scouting activities should have in place rigorous anti-bullying strategies.

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