The abuse team at Slee Blackwell are representing a number of people who were subjected to sexual abuse while under the care of the Scout Association. An increasing number of former scouts are coming forward and speaking out regarding the abuse they suffered, sometimes many years previously.
The Scout Association has always been a highly respected and trusted organisation. Parents traditionally encourage their children to join the Scouts because of its strong moral code that promotes respect and team work.
However, it is becoming apparent that the Scout Association is yet another organisation to have let countless young people down by allowing child abuse to take place within its structures, with seemingly no consequences for the abuser. The list of allegations made against the Scout Association includes:
- failing to take allegations seriously,
- failing to notice obvious warning signs and
- turning a blind eye to protect the Association’s reputation
These failings have allowed an environment to develop in which sexual abusers can thrive. It is similar to what has occurred in other organisations in which adults are placed in a position of trust and authority over children, such as the church.
Paedophiles are attracted to roles that give them power and ready access to children. Organisations therefore need effective procedures, policies and checks in place to ensure that only those adults deserving of such trust are accepted. Victims of abuse say this is not the time for empty apologies and statements that seek to hide the reality of the situation. Decisive action needs to be taken by all organisations, including the Scout Association, to demonstrate to the public that the young people in their care are safe. Where instances of abuse are identified organisations must be willing to learn from their previous mistakes so as to guarantee the future safety and well-being of children under their control.
It is likely that there are many more victims of abuse that have yet to come forward. If you have been affected by abuse within the Scouts or any other youth organisation, please contact Slee Blackwell’s abuse team on Freephone 0808 139 1597 for a confidential chat about your legal position.