Scouting Barriers to Abuse

The BSA has adopted the following policies to provide additional security for our members. These policies are primarily for the protection of our youth members; however, they also serve to protect our adult leaders from false accusations of abuse.

Two-deep leadership is required on all outings. Two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, or other adult, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. The chartered organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all Scouting activities. There are a few instances, such as patrol activities, when the presence of adult leaders is not required and adult leadership may be limited to training and guidance of the patrol leadership. With the proper training, guidance, and approval by the troop leaders, the patrol can conduct day hikes and service projects. Appropriate adult leadership must be present for all overnight Scouting activities; coed overnight activities—even those including parent and child—require male and female adult leaders, both of whom must be 21 years of age or older, and one of whom must be a registered member of the BSA. The chartered organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all activities.

One-on-one contact is prohibited between adults and Scouts. One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster’s conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths.

Separate accommodations are required for adults and Scouts. When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his own parent or guardian. Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for males and females, as well as separate facilities for youth. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use and/or youth and adult use should be scheduled and posted for showers. Likewise, youth and adults must shower at different times.

Privacy of youth is respected. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, intruding only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.

Inappropriate use of cameras, imaging, and digital devices is prohibited. While most campers and leaders use cameras and other imaging devices responsibly, it has become very easy to invade the privacy of individuals. It is inappropriate to use any device capable of recording or transmitting visual images in shower houses, restrooms, or other areas where privacy is expected by participants.

No secret organizations are allowed. The Boy Scouts of America does not allow any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.

No hazing is allowed. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity.

No bullying is allowed. Verbal, physical, and cyber bullying are prohibited in Scouting.

Youth leadership is monitored by adult leaders. Adult leaders must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by junior leaders and ensure that BSA policies are followed.

Discipline must be constructive. Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting’s values. Corporal punishment is never permitted.

Appropriate attire is required for all activities. Proper clothing for activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping or revealing bathing suits are not appropriate as part of Scouting.

Members are responsible to act according to the Scout Oath and Scout Law. All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Physical violence, theft, verbal insults, drugs, and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout’s membership.

Units are responsible for enforcing Youth Protection policies. The head of the chartered organization or chartered organization representative and the local council must approve the registration of the unit’s adult leader. Adult leaders of Scouting units are responsible for monitoring the behavior of youth members and interceding when necessary. Parents of members who misbehave should be informed and asked for assistance. Any violations of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies must immediately be reported to the Scout Executive.

The “Three R’s” of Youth Protection

The “Three R’s” of Youth Protection convey a simple message to youth members:

  1. Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
  2. Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
  3. Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the Scout know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.

Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America Reporting Requirements

Anytime you suspect child abuse in scouting you are required to:

1. In case of a emergency or obvious battering, call any one of the following: Child Abuse Registry @ (714) 940-1000, local police or sheriff, immediately.
2. Keep the matter confidential and report your suspicion immediately to your local Scout Executive @ (546-8687.
3. State requirements on mandated reporter

While everyone should report suspected child abuse and neglect, Article 2.5 of the Penal Code provides that it is a crime for certain professionals and any persons who have a special working relationship or contact with children not to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities. The following excerpts of sections from the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (see Appendix for full test)…”any layperson who has knowledge of or observes a child he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse shall report the known or suspected instance of child abuse to a child protective agency immediately or as soon as practically possible by telephone, “reasonable suspicion” means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain such a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse…”(Penal Code Section 11166).

Liability

1. No civil or criminal liability is incurred if a report is made to a Child Abuse Registry or to local police or sheriff department, in good faith, and the report is later found to be incorrect.

2. It is required by law to report child abuse, failure to do so is a misdemeanor and is punishable by jail confinement not to exceed six months or by a fine of not more than $500 or both.