BBC news report 10th December 2014

You may have seen tonight’s BBC News reports about safeguarding issues in the Scout Movement. This is our public response to that report

  • We apologise to all those who have been abused during their time in Scouting. The safety and support of young people in Scouting is our number one priority. Any abuse of young people is abhorrent and we are deeply sorry for anybody hurt by the actions of abusers. We strive to ensure these abuses do not take place. 
  • The Scout Association is a membership organisation with 550,000 members and operates across the United Kingdom. Just over 100,000 of our Members are adult volunteers.  Since Scouting started in 1907 well over ten million young people and adults have been involved in the Movement in the United Kingdom. 
  • The suggestion that 50 adults have initiated claims against the Scout Movement in the period October 2012 to December 2014 and that £900,000 has been paid out to victims is factually incorrect.  We have reviewed the appropriate files to seek the information they requested and can confirm that since the Movement started in 1907, 48 civil actions relating to child abuse have been made against the Association. Of these claims, 36 civil actions have been instigated since October 2012; all actions relate to historic cases. In common with many other charities, organisations and institutions, we experienced an increase in reported historic cases since 2012
  • In the period October 2012 to December 2014 we have paid around £500K in compensation to victims of abuse. To our great regret, some individuals who seek to abuse young people have used their positions to violate the founding principles of Scouting and have breached our stringent processes.  Subsequently, this small minority, have abused a young person or persons. 
  • In appropriate circumstances we want to ensure victims of abuse receive compensation in a timely manner. This is the right thing to do. We have never used gagging orders to silence those who have been abused.  
  • We have operated safeguarding processes designed to keep our youth members safe since the Movement was created and these have often been at the forefront of good practice standards. Our capacity to keep young people safe is always evolving and improving. 
  • Before the advent of computers, we operated a paper based reference system designed to prevent those who sought to harm young people from becoming volunteers with the Movement.
  • As soon as the criminal records disclosure scheme became operational we made use of the system. In fact we played an important role in supporting the original implementation of the scheme during the trial stage of the system’s development.
  • As a membership organisation with 10 million former members and with hundreds of thousands of current members we regularly keep our files under review and will always report any issues of concern to the police that are identified during this work. These policies are proactively enforced by our adult volunteers.
  • As part of this commitment, the NSPCC reviewed our safeguarding processes in 2008. More recently, they have reviewed and offered us advice on where and how our vetting and appeals process interacts with the criminal records disclosure scheme. Earlier this year we also began work to review our membership files. Any issues of concern that need to be reported to the Police will be referred immediately
  • In addition to these processes all our leaders (100,000) have to undergo compulsory safeguarding training.
  • We take all these actions because we are committed to report any issues of concern to the relevant authorities. 
  • In terms of the wider question of our involvement in the Government Inquiry, we are committed to cooperating fully and offer for consideration the safeguarding lessons we have learned over the last 107 years of working with young people in a voluntary setting.

Having read this information and you wish to report any matters of concern about an individual or individuals in Scouting then please contact the safeguarding team using
If you have general enquiries about safeguarding policies of the Scout Movement then please contact the Scout information centre on 0845 3001818
If approached by the media on safeguarding matters and asked to comment please do not comment without seeking advice and support from the Media team located at Headquarters. They will provide support. You can contact them via this link

10th December

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