Child Safe Scouting
Scouts Queensland has a moral and legal duty of care to its Youth Members to provide a safe environment and protection from harm. A safe environment and protection from harm includes protection of Youth Members from Child Abuse.
All Adults in Scouting have a legislated obligation to protect Youth Members from Child Abuse on behalf of Scouts Queensland. Scouts Queensland shall ensure that this highest duty is considered above all else when recruiting and managing Adults.
Scouts Queensland is committed to an environment of zero tolerance toward child abuse which can present through bullying or neglect and child abuse includes emotional, physical, psychological or sexual abuse of any kind.
All Adults in Scouting must hold a current Blue Card. If deemed necessary by Scouts Queensland, an additional National Police check may be requested. To protect the welfare of Youth Members, Scouts Queensland shall not proceed with an application for Membership of an Adult if there is any doubt concerning suitability.
Scouts Queensland mandates completion of the National on-demand SP-Child and SP-WHS training curriculum as part of the proficiency training requirements for all Adults and must be completed within the first three months of joining. Renewal of this training at three yearly intervals is also required to maintain membership.
The Scouts Australia SP-Child training module shall be used as the basis for training augmented by Scouts Queensland where required to cover relevant Queensland Legislation. Scouts Queensland will develop, disseminate and conduct training for all Adults in Scouting and Parents/Guardians in specific Child Protection processes supporting this Policy. This will facilitate the handling of questions, allegations, disclosures and reporting about Child Abuse.
Adults in Scouting must always treat children with dignity and respect and must endeavour to actively promote in word and deed every Child’s right to feel safe and cared for.
Scouts Queensland strongly encourages Adults to not place themselves at risk of perceived contravention of this Policy through wherever possible having at least two Adults present when supervising and conducting Scouting activities involving Children and where this is not possible reporting the circumstances to the person to whom they report.
Adults in Scouting must not take part in or tolerate any form of abuse of children, or any supporting form of behaviour which compromises the safety and wellbeing of children.
Therefore, all Adults in Scouting must:
- Make every effort to provide an inclusive and safe environment for all children involved in Scouting activities including providing for care and safety of children with physical, intellectual, or sensory impairments.
- Respect the cultural values of all children and encourage and support their involvement from all backgrounds.
- Adhere to the Queensland Policy and any applicable legislative requirements
All Adults in Scouting must immediately report:
- any conduct directly seen or suspected that does not comply with this Queensland Policy or comply with the Scouts Australia Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics that may result in child abuse; or
- any disclosure, allegation or suspicion of abuse of children whether it has occurred within a Scouting environment or not
To protect the welfare of Youth Members, Scouts Queensland:
- Shall terminate the Membership of (or the employment of) any Adult in Scouting where an allegation or suspicion of child abuse has been proven through a court of law.
- May terminate the Membership of any Adult even if a Child Protection matter is not concluded or ultimately resolved with certainty.
- Shall immediately suspend the membership of a person who is the subject of any allegations of sexual abuse and report the matter to Police and if appropriate Child Safety Services for investigation (provide confirmation of this to the authorities and the victim)
Scouts Queensland will ensure that Youth Members receive training/advice (through the Scout Program) of their right to feel, and be safe, and the ways in which they may help to protect themselves and their peers. Youth Members in Scouting must not take part in or tolerate any form of abuse of other Youth Members, or any form of behaviour which compromises the safety and wellbeing of Youth Members. Children are encouraged to report any conduct that does not comply with this Policy and must be regularly reminded/ informed through the Scout Program of their right to feel safe and what action they can take if they do not feel safe.
The full and complete Child Safe Scouting Policy is available here.
It is a requirement of the law in Queensland that all adults must report sexual offending against children to the Police unless they have a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse is limited by legislation to:
- The sexual offending incident has already been reported by yourself;
- The sexual offending incident has already been reported by someone else; and
- The witness believing that they may be in harm within domestic violence situation.
It is a requirement of Scouts Queensland that if any Adult or Youth Member or other volunteer suspects a child has experienced Child Abuse or is at risk of experiencing Child Abuse, that person (called a “Notifier”) must contact the Police (or if appropriate Child Safety Services). This is not limited to Scouting related activities. Adults must immediately report to the Police and if appropriate Child Safety Service and Scouts Queensland, suspected, known or disclosure instances of Child Abuse. A failure to report is a breach of the Queensland Branch Policy, and Scouts Australia Code of Conduct.
Where a member makes a report in the interests of Child Safety, Scouts Queensland will support the ‘Notifier. Scouts Queensland will maintain an open and cooperative relationship with all State Authorities and will unreservedly provide information in its possession to those Authorities in their investigations.
Adults who, by virtue of their employment or by State legislation are required by law to report Child Abuse are to follow the mandatory reporting requirements prescribed under state law for reportable situations that occur in Scouting whether within their State or other jurisdictions. Notwithstanding legislation, Branch Policy is that all Adults in Scouting are ‘mandatory reporters’ of child abuse that is brought to their attention.
GIVEN THIS POLICY (AND WHERE ADULTS IN SCOUTING WOULD NOT OTHERWISE BE ‘MANDATED REPORTERS’ UNDER STATE LEGISLATION) REPORTING OF – CHILD ABUSE MATTERS ARISING IN THE CONTEXT OF SCOUTING ACTIVITY AND SITUATIONS WHERE A CHILD DISCLOSES OR IS AT RISK OF ABUSE IN SITUATIONS OUTSIDE SCOUTING (e.g. HOME), REPORTING IS MANDATORY.
Branch Policy and this Standard do not alter the requirements for legislated ‘Mandated Reporters’ to report all matters of Abuse in accordance with State law. When a legislated ‘Mandate Reporter’ makes a report for a reportable situation that occurs in Scouting that person shall also complete the Branch Child Abuse Report Form (F8) forward it to Branch.
Further to the requirements of employment related mandatory reporting, it has been a requirement since 5 July 2021 that all adults in Queensland report sexual offending against children to the Police unless they have a reasonable excuse.
The full and complete Child Safe Scouting Reporting Standard is available here.
One way an Adult may become aware of abuse is through disclosure by the victim. When a child begins to share with you an experience of abuse the following steps should be followed. (For more detail refer to Scouts Queensland CYM-GUD-01 Guideline for managing and documenting a disclosure).
If you receive a disclosure, you should take the following steps:
- Remain calm;
- Find a private place to talk whilst maintaining two deep leadership through being in sight though out of hearing;
- Do not promise to keep a secret;
- Believe the person;
- Don’t ask leading questions;
- Don’t put words in the person’s mouth;
- It is not your role to investigate; and,
- Take detailed notes.
The adult who receives the disclosure of abuse or forms a suspicion of harm must report immediately to Police by telephoning Police Link on 131 444. Where there is immediate risk of harm to a child act immediately to protect the child. Telephone Branch Emergency Line on 07 3721 5799. Complete the Form F8 and send promptly but within two hours to email@example.com.
Note that where an adult who receives the disclosure or forms a suspicion of harm but fails to report the incident to the authorities the Complaints Officer at the Branch Support Office will report to the Deputy Chief Commissioner Adults in Scouting.
Youth Members IMPORTANTLY are to be encouraged to report any instance in which they feel ‘unsafe’ or in danger. Youth Members are to receive regular reminders through the Scout Program of their rights to feel, and be safe, and in the ways in which they may help protect themselves and their peers.
An Adult who is approached by the Police or any other relevant authority in relation to any matter concerning Child Protection must inform the Complaints Officer at the Branch Support Office by phone or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The full and complete Child Safe Scouting Procedure is available here.