Scouts fees rise to fund new safeguarding team

Posted: 27th November 2023

The Scout Association is overhauling its safeguarding procedures following a campaign by abuse survivors – with a membership fee rise to cover the costs.

A new inspection team will check if UK Scout groups are following national policies, while an independent panel of abuse survivors will make sure victims get the right support and counselling.

It comes after the survivors’ campaign was highlighted by a BBC investigation.

Abuse survivors said they hoped the move meant “kids will be a lot safer”.

The membership fee that every group – including beavers, cub scouts and scouts – pays per member is to increase by £2 from 2024, to £38 a year, with £1 of that helping to fund the changes.

Safer than we were

Sheanna Patelmaster and Lucy Pincott say they were abused when they joined the Scouts in 2007, both at the age of 13. They set up a campaign, Yours in Scouting, to call for changes in the organisation.

Sheanna said: “People sharing their personal stories has made a real difference, and will hopefully mean that kids will be a lot safer in the scouts than we were.”

She says she was sexually assaulted on numerous occasions by her leader, who was older than her, while Lucy says she was groomed by a young leader and forced to have sex with him.

The women – who have waived their right to anonymity – started their campaign with support from the Good Law Project.

The Scout Association says the £2 membership fee increase will help pay for what it calls a new UK assurance function. While half of the money raised will be used to invest in the new safeguarding measures, the other half will cover rising operating costs.

It says, under the new measures, a team will inspect if safeguarding actions by local scout groups align with national policies, training and procedures.

Visits to local groups are being considered and the new system, due to start in the first half of next year, will provide additional scrutiny at local, county and national level, the association says.

An independently run panel of abuse survivors will also be set up to ensure victims have access to bespoke support and counselling.

And, in what the Scout Association says was a planned update, the organisation’s 140,000 volunteers are now being told to report any abuse allegations directly to the national safeguarding team, rather than through their volunteer line managers.

Campaigners had expressed concerns that not all allegations of abuse were being properly reported.

A spokesperson for the Scout Association said: “We have shared these proposals with Yours in Scouting and we are pleased that they are positive about the steps we are taking.

“The safety and support of young people in scouting is our number one priority.”

In June, the BBC’s File on 4 programme revealed that, in the last 10 years, the Scout Association had paid out more than £6m in compensation to scouts who had been abused.

Child abuse lawyers said they had taken on at least 260 claims in that period, with 166 cases being settled. The Scouts said at the time that many of the cases were historical and it was “deeply sorry” anyone suffered abuse.

Since Yours in Scouting was launched, nearly 70 people who say they were abused while in the Scouts have contacted the group.

Peter – not his real name – says he was raped by a scout leader in the 1980s. He said: “The Scouts should have made these changes years ago to stop people like me having their lives destroyed.”

The Scout Association says it encourages anyone who has been in touch with Yours in Scouting to contact them or report to the police.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can visit BBC Action Line

Source: Scouts fees rise to fund new safeguarding team (

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