We recognize that as a youth organisation we may be a soft target for people who would want to harm children and youth. The Times published an article where this was insinuated.
SCOUTS South Africa wants to reiterate its commitment to the empowerment, development and upliftment of our countries children and youth. SCOUTS South Africa is part of an international network of Scouting organisations however in South Africa it is an independent organisation with stringent child protection policies and procedures.
As an organisation it treats any allegation of abuse of children and youths in its care in the most serious light. Any allegation, when brought to the Chief Executive Officer’s or Chief Commissioner’s attention, is immediately addressed through the suspension of the adult volunteer to prevent any further incidents. The allegations are then reported to the relevant authorities for legal investigation and action as merited. The specifics of the process that is followed is laid out in SCOUTS South Africa’s Child Protection Policy that sets out in detail the steps to be taken. It is readily available in the members’ library on www.scouts.org.za.
SCOUTS South Africa actively works to protect the membership of the Scouting Movement from undesirable individuals and reiterates its support for the work of the Family Violence and Child Protection Unit in addressing such cases not only in so far as they affect the association but also in the larger community. To this end it is an integral part of our youth Programme to educate our youth members in the specifics of their rights and responsibilities and the ways that they can seek protection from such deplorable instants of abuse as those alleged and reported in the article.
From the very first engagement with care givers and youth we ensure they are aware of our child protection policies and the avenues open to them for raising complaints or concerns. Every adult joining as an adult volunteer is required to go through an interview process, along with a background reference checks. Additionally SCOUTS South Africa is currently in the process of vetting its adult volunteers against the National Child Protection Database.
We would like to encourage and invite any member of either the organisation or the public who has information pertaining to members feeling unsafe or being harmed, to please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org at their earliest convenience with the necessary information that will allow us to take action to protect our members.
Dr Brendon Hausberger
SCOUTS South Africa