Experts in the fields of child safety, law enforcement, and child psychology have publicly supported the strong awareness, trainings, barriers, and policies the BSA has in place that allow many to consider the organization among the safest places for youth. Dr. Janet Warren—who has spent her career analyzing and profiling sexual offenders and serves as the University of Virginia liaison to the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit—has professionally evaluated every known record of past abuse in Scouting held by the national organization and publicly reported on the BSA’s records of past abuse. Dr. Warren’s report states plainly and directly that there was simply “no evidence of a cover-up initiated or condoned by BSA National Council.”
The BSA is aware safety is not a static issue and is always looking for ways to improve its youth protection program. Currently, the BSA multi-layered safeguards include the following measures, all of which act as barriers to abuse:
- Extensive, mandatory youth protection training for all volunteers and employees;
- Relationship with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation to educate and empower youth through the new “Protect Yourself Rules” videos to educate children to understand and recognize abuse while empowering them to get help any time they are made to feel uncomfortable;
- A leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children – either in person, online, or via phone or text;
- A BSA team dedicated to addressing concerns raised about any individual in Scouting;
- A thorough screening process for new adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks; and
- The prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement.
The BSA supports universal measures to keep kids safe and continues to advocate for the creation of a national database to which all youth-serving organizations could contribute and use to screen volunteers.
The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address ([email protected]) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior. For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies, please visit Scouting.org/YouthSafety.