Safe from Harm is a key priority for the Scout Movement. It is everyone’s responsibility to create a safe environment for all, enabling the self-development of young people through positive and healthy interpersonal relationships. One incident of abuse is one too many.
Significant efforts are made to emphasise the importance of safeguarding to all who are involved in Scouting, including the mechanisms to build a safe environment. Each National Scout Organization is required to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of young people is a key priority through a holistic approach in their structures and educational programmes. World Scouting provides support on a daily basis to National Scout Organizations to ensure Safe from Harm is a reality for all.
World Safe from Harm policy
The World Safe from Harm policy was approved by the 2017 World Scout Conference and is the cornerstone of WOSM’s efforts to reduce risks of harm and abuse to children and young people. The policy focuses on implementation through national Youth Programmes, and in the different areas of the Adults in Scouting lifecycle. The policy builds on Conference Resolution 2002-07 - Keeping Children Safe from Harm and WOSM’s Position Paper on Child and Youth Protection (2016).
Standards and compliance
Organisational standards and compliance frameworks on Safe from Harm for the Scout Movement are established to support National Scout Organizations.
- Quality standards on Safe from Harm through the Global Support Assessment Tool
- The Ethics Committee to handle complaints filed through the WOSM Code of Conduct, including for Elections and bidders of World Scout Events
- WOSM Complaints Policy supported by internal procedures to deal with notified cases through the Safe from Harm case management team
- World Scout Bureau Employee Handbook outlining compliance requirements on Safe from Harm
The WOSM Safe from Harm Service provides National Scout Organizations with resources and toolkits to support in developing and strengthening national Safe from Harm frameworks. Key resources available include the National Safe from Harm guidelines and the Safe from Harm self-assessment tool for National Scout Organizations. In addition, support from over 50 expert WOSM Consultants on Safe from Harm is available through requesting a WOSM Service.
The “Safe Scouts” series of educational resources provides National Scout Organizations with material on the prevention and educational experience of Safe from Harm. The resources can easily be integrated into national Youth Programmes, covering bullying, mental health, online safety, and youth and adult relationships. With the huge impact of the global pandemic on young people, specific guidelines are also available to support child protection during COVID-19.
Volunteer and staff training
WOSM embodies the importance of providing training for Adults in Scouting to ensure their competencies in protecting themselves and young people from any harm. A mandatory Safe from Harm training is in place for all WOSM volunteers and staff in the 5 working languages. This training is complemented by additional learning opportunities and workshops for all WOSM volunteers, staff and NSOs about online safety and responding to Safe from Harm case studies.
Communities of practice
By using communities of practice, the Scout Movement leverages on the experience of others through exchanges of best practices to strengthen knowledge on Safe from Harm. The World Scouting Directory allows National Scout Organizations to record their national Safe from Harm coordinators which join the Global Safe from Harm Network to facilitate these exchanges and to be provided with tailored support.
World and Regional events
The 2019 World Scout Jamboree significantly upgraded the mandatory e-learning experience for adult participants and organising teams. In addition, standard operating procedures were developed for WOSM’s largest World Scout Event, JOTA-JOTI, which included duty teams across time zones to monitor Safe from Harm in the online context. A dedicated Code of Conduct, e-learning for participants and procedures are now part of the standard toolkit for World Scout Events. Safe from Harm is also part of our educational offering at World Scout Events in programmes such as the Better World Tent and the well-being area of JOTA-JOTI.
Building new partnerships around Safe from Harm with international organisations such as the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children.