Safeguarding young people

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

We are committed to:

  • Taking the interests and well-being of young people into account, in all our considerations and activities.

  • Respecting the rights, wishes and feelings of the young people with whom we work.

  • Taking all reasonable practicable steps to protect them from neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

  • Promoting the welfare of young people and their protection within a position of trust.

All adults in scouting, including members of the scout network who wish to work with young people, are responsible for putting this policy into practice at all times.

An adult in scouting has a responsibility to ensure that young people are protected from harm. It is the responsibility of each adult in scouting to ensure that:

  • Their behaviour is appropriate at all times.

  • They observe the rules established for the safety and security of young people.

  • They follow the procedures following suspicion, disclosure or allegation of child abuse.

  • They recognise the position of trust in which they have been placed.

  • In every respect, the relationships they form with the young people under their care are appropriate.


'Young People First' code of practice (yellow card)

To give positive guidance, the 'Young People First' code of practice (also known as the yellow card) sets out a code of behaviour for all adults in scouting.

Code of behaviour


Do keep to this code at all times.

Do treat everyone with dignity and respect.

Do set an example for others to follow.

Do treat all young people equally – do not show favouritism.

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

Do follow the recommended adult-to-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, eg a sexual relationship with a young person who is 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 attitudes or behaviours they do not like.

Do avoid being drawn into inappropriate attention-seeking behaviour, eg tantrums and crushes

Do make everyone (young people, parents and carers, Young Leaders and other helpers) aware of our safeguarding arrangements.

Do remember this code at sensitive moments, eg when helping someone who has been bullied, bereaved or abused.

Do tell other leaders where you are and what you are doing

Do remember someone else might misinterpret your actions, even if you mean well.

Do take any allegations or concerns of abuse seriously and refer them to your Group Scout Leader or District Commissioner immediately.

Do not...

Do not trivialise abuse.

Do not form a relationship with a young person that is an abuse of trust.

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  allow abusive activities, eg initiation ceremonies or bullying.

Do not take part in inappropriate behaviour or contact, whether physical, verbal or sexual.

Do not take part in 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 when writing, phoning, emailing or using the internet.

Do not let allegations, suspicions, or concerns about abuse go unreported.

Do not rely just on your good name to protect you.