Scouting offers fun adventures for young people aged 5 – 26 allowing them to discover new things and experiences they wouldn’t find elsewhere. We know that young people thrive in safe surroundings. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring that Scouting provides the most secure environment possible for leaning, development and fun.

How we keep youth safe

We have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of youth, you can find out more about these below. We believe in embedding safety in everything that we do and creating a safe culture.

 

We require Scouters to report incidents to us, this helps us make our activities safer and identifies area of concern. We learn from incidents by taking measures such as conducting incident reviews and publishing safety tips for our members. View these Safety tips.

We take allegations of abuse seriously and always report them to the relevant authorities. Specially trained staff at our national service centre work with colleagues in law enforcement and child protective services to ensure we keep youth safe. It is our policy to suspend members who are the subject of allegations of abuse.

If you have any concerns about the safety of our activities or youth, you can speak to your Group Commissioner. If you feel unable to do so contact our Help Centre at 1-888-855-3336 or e-mail the Safe Scouting Team at safety@scouts.ca.

To report or discuss urgent safety or youth protection concerns 1-800-339-6643 (24 hours).

If you do not feel comfortable speaking with Scouts Canada you can contact your local police, child protective services or for concerns about online behaviour or content www.cybertip.ca if a child is at risk call 911.

Adults appointed to positions of authority over youth undergo a vetting process which includes; application forms, interviews, police record checks (including vulnerable sector searches), references and youth protection training with Respect in Sport. When youth take on positions of responsibility in Scouting we have a similar vetting arrangements and the same training.

This process is designed to ensure that Scouters are suitable to occupy a position of trust, to support this we have a detailed code of conduct and a requirement that no Scouter may ever be alone with youth. We refer to this as the two Scouter rule, whenever a Scouter is with a youth they must always have another Scouter present.

All of our activities are subject to risk and hazard reviews, we provide Scouters training and guidance to do this. Activities such as camps and outings require approval from a Group Commissioner and for some we will ask you to sign a consent form. You can read more about this in our Bylaws Polices and Procedures, Section 13,000 and 10,000.

All of our activities have a minimum ratio of Scouters to youth, this is usually 1 Scouter to 8 youth, although it may change depending on the nature of the activities for example; the risk assessment for a hike with Beaver Scouts may determine that the ratio should be 1:5.

We involve youth in planning our activities and undertaking risk assessments, we believe in youth leadership and helping youth learn how to be safe. While a Scouter will always be responsible for risk assessments, youth engagement helps us run safer activities an example of this might; be Cub Scouts identifying hazards on a hill before tobogganing or Scouts preparing for a hike by learning how to check the weather conditions.

We have produced age appropriate stay safe information for youth, you can download these from the links below:

We need your help and support to keep offering safe adventures by:

Getting involved in your child’s Group. Come along and see what we do, we believe parents should be able to observe our activities, ask questions and volunteer with us!

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s Commit2kids programme says that parents should take three steps when choosing activities for their children, we agree.

Talk to your child about how they keep themselves safe, you can use some of the tips from comit2kids or our stay safe leaflets. Encourage your child to identify 5 trusted adults that they can turn to if they are worried or have any concerns. Ideally you want to include a range of people such as family members, friends and perhaps a teacher, Scouter or coach.

Ask your child what they do at Scouts and how our program “The Canadian Path” works. Since it is youth led your child will be involved in planning their adventures. You can find out more about the Canadian Path.

Engage your child in how your family keeps safe, teach them how to identify risk and what do if they are worried. Have a plan for what to do in an emergency or natural disaster.

Learn how your child uses technology and the internet, do you know what social media they use and how they get online? You can find out more at cybertip.ca