Safe from Harm
Safe from Harm is the highest priority for the Scout Movement. We believe it is our responsibility to help create a safe and inclusive environment everyone in Scouting, and enable the self-development of young people through positive and healthy interpersonal relationships.
Over the years, we have made significant efforts to strengthen safeguarding for children, youth adults involved in Scouting across the Scout Movement, and are actively working to support National Scout Organizations to meet the Safe from Harm requirements for WOSM membership by developing and implementing policies, programmes and practices benchmarked against international standards for child and youth safety.
As members of WOSM, National Scout Organizations must take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of young people and adults through a holistic approach implemented across organisational structures and educational programmes. Here is some of the key support and resources available to help make Safe from Harm a reality for all.
World Safe from Harm Policy
The World Safe from Harm Policy is the cornerstone of WOSM’s efforts to reduce risks of harm and abuse among children and young people. The policy, which was approved by the 41st World Scout Conference in 2017, focuses on implementation through national Youth Programmes and across different areas of the Adults in Scouting lifecycle. The policy builds on past resolutions and position paper on child and youth protection.
Safe from Harm Assessment Tool and Guidelines
World Scouting has developed a range of resources for National Scout Organizations to assess their implementation of Safe from Harm against international standards and in line with WOSM membership requirements. Among them is the new Safe from Harm Assessment Tool (English, French) and accompanying Guidelines (English, French), which are available for National Scout Organizations to use to conduct a Self-Assessment or WOSM Assessment to evaluate their current level of Safe from Harm and identify areas for improvement.
National Scout Organizations are required to conduct a Safe from Harm Self-Assessment every two years and submit the outcomes and additional supporting documentation during the annual reporting process. More information can be found in Circular 01/2023 (English, French) and the Resolution passed during the 42nd World Scout Conference.
WOSM Services in Safe from Harm provides National Scout Organizations with resources, including toolkits, guidelines and e-learning courses, to support the development and strengthening of national Safe from Harm practices. National Scout Organizations can also request a WOSM Service to get tailored in-person and virtual support, and gain access to over 40 WOSM Consultants specialised in the area of Safe from Harm.
World Scouting organisational standards
World Scouting has put in place strict organisational standards on Safe from Harm to further support the Scout Movement and National Scout Organizations.
- The Ethics Committee handles complaints filed through the WOSM Code of Conduct, including on Elections and bidders of World Scout Events.
- WOSM Complaints Policy, supported by internal procedures, deals with notified cases through the Safe from Harm case management team.
- World Scout Bureau Employee Handbook outlines compliance requirements on Safe from Harm.
- Safe from Harm is a key requirement of the Global Support Assessment Tool.
World and Regional events
Safe from Harm is integrated in all aspects of World and Regional Scout events. World Scouting has taken significant steps to strengthen child and youth safeguarding, including by having a dedicated code of conduct, supporting Listening ears available for participants, and Safe from Harm procedures as part of the standard toolkit for World Scout Events. Scouts can also learn more about Safe from Harm during educational offerings at World Scout events, such as the Better World Tent and the well-being area at JOTA-JOTI.
World Scouting has built partnerships around Safe from Harm with international organisations, such as the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children.