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Read and try and understand other people’s experiences and stories from abuse in the Scouts. If there’s anything here that is triggering, know that there are people who can help. If you feel inspired or confident enough, please share your story.


75 stories submitted so far.

Page 3

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  • Post 2014

    My child’s abuse took place from aged 8-11 ( 2012-2015 )and involved grooming and full on sexual abuse/rape and many other horrendous experiences including being held under water .

    She has been in hospital for 3 years due to trauma and has a diagnosis of Complex Ptsd . There are no words to begin describing the catastrophic effect on every aspect of her life.

    We were advised by police to focus on our child – rightly so- and to let them do their job. As far as we are aware the person/s continued to work with the Scouts ‘under supervision.’

    What is known about the scale of abuse is not even the tip of the iceberg-so many will have too poor mental health, be suicidal ( maybe having even completed suicide) or substance abuse to even be in a position to do anything at all, even reading about this or talking to someone . For so many it will cause emotional – and physical – suffering beyond comprehension.

    Abuse in Scouts seems systemic and in many cases accepted.

    So many phenomenally brave people on here, speaking their truth at last.

  • Post 2014

    I joined as an assistant leader recently. The scout leader was of an older generation and didn’t hold any stock in supporting children with additional needs, referring to them as naughty and talked about how she wished she could get them out of the pack. She would organise activity sessions for the pack but didn’t book enough spaces for all the kids and didn’t follow requirements for risk assessments. She would have meetings in her back garden without other leaders, just her and her husband.

    All this was known about by senior leaders in the group and district and nothing was done to stop her. It was seen as a quirk and accepted as we did not have enough leaders. Safeguarding was less important that bums on seats. Can’t turn down a volunteer! No matter how awful they are, so long as they pass the DBS check…

  • Sexual Abuse

    I was groomed from age 12 and abused from age 13 by my scout leader, who was 20 years my senior. This was in 1993. He manipulated me into a highly intimate ‘friendship’, saying I was the only one who could understand and help him with his social and sexual issues. As a lonely and ‘gifted’ child I was an easy target, and I believed him.

    He was very highly respected in the local community and I didn’t feel able to tell anyone for fear of the reprecussions, for both of us. The abuse often happened during scouting activities, with him controlling/rewarding me with increased scouting responsibilities and perks beyond my years.

    It also frequently happened in private in his house, and gradually included dedicated camping trips away, for which I always owed him money. He got me a good part-time job with his company, also making him my boss and the source of my income – another level of control.

    He sexually abused me on a weekly basis for more than five years. I lied to my family and my friends about it the entire time. He was incredibly jealous and manipulative, repeatedly sabotaging any attempts I made to have normal teenage relationships, often by threatening to kill himself if I slept with anyone else. He even tried it, and I saved his life more than once.

    At one point he was arrested for possession of child pornography, but manipulated me into lying to defend him, and the police who interviewed me clearly had no safeguarding knowledge or training whatsoever. He got away with some small service in the community, who all still worshipped him. The Scouting Association were well aware of this issue, but he was simply ‘reprimanded’ for this ‘minor’ conviction, without them taking any further action.

    By this time, I was also helping to run the local scout group. I learnt that I was not the only one he abused. There were others before me, and afterwards. I know some of their names.

    I eventually escaped to university far away, so the frequency of the abuse reduced signficantly, although the intensity of his controlling behaivour took years to subside. I was left with deep psychological issues with trust and intimacy, which blighted many of my relationships and left me angry, lonely and miserable for many years.

    I eventually told someone my story at the age of 26, and the disclosure triggered a significant bout of ill mental health. I struggled with this, but gradually confided in a few more close friends, before eventually managing to go to the police at 33 years old. A thorough investigation followed, which required me to also disclose to my parents, siblings, and several ex-girlfriends – a traumatic experience in itself.

    My abuser was arrested, and his assets seized. The investigation dragged on for about a year, during which we contacted some of his other victims, but none were mentally healthy enough to come forward. I repeatedly told the police he was a suicide risk, with specific details on his preferred method. A few weeks before he would have been charged by the CPS, he killed himself, in exactly the manner I always said he would, therefore denying me any closure via justice. It took months of requests and effort to even get the CPS to tell me what they would have charged him with, and what the likely sentence would have been.

    As advised, I applied for and was granted an ‘award’ (awful terminology) by the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority, however, the award was the minimum possible because it was apparently clear from my good job and relatively functional life that “the abuse had not caused me signficant damage”. It was also made clear to me that if there was any way I could reclaim those funds via a civil case then I should do so, such that they could be used for ‘less fortunate’ innocent victims. I therefore approached some solicitors, and instigated a civil case.

    The Scouting Association claimed that my abusers actions had been nothing to do with their organisation, and argued that he alone was the responsible party. After much discussion and deliberation, my lawyers advised me that the case would be much more likely to succeed if it were not against the Scouting Association, but instead against my abuser’s estate. I grudgingly followed their advice, and the Scouting Association were therefore let off with no consequences whatsoever for allowing this to happen.

    The civil case was an entirely unpleasant affair that lasted almost five years, as my dead abuser’s family fought to retain his estate for themselves. It was eventually settled in my favour, but by the time all the lawyer fees, costs, insurances, etc. has been paid, the amount of damages I received was actually less than the CICA had awarded me – and they then insisted I had to pay that award back anyway, so I ended up out of pocket for trying to do the right thing. Just on my side of the case, the lawyers’ turnover was over three times larger than the damages i received .

    In the end I not only sufferred half a decade of abuse, but I was catastrophically let down by the Scouting Association, by the police, by the criminal justice system, and by the civil legal system, none of which are remotely fit for purpose in my opinion.

    However, without any credit to any of them, I’m now reasonably healthy and happy. I spent several years in some very challenging therapy, and have worked through the issues he left me. Although it didn’t go the way it should have done, I am proud to have made the hard decisions, stuck to my principles, and still be standing at the end of it all.

    If my story can help others, then I’m very happy to share it. I would perhaps even do so without anonymity, if that would be somehow useful. I regularly donate to NAPAC, and would volunteer to work with them, but I live abroad these days which makes it difficult.

    I sincerely hope that Yours In Scouting can have a positive effect on the Scouting Association, and their hopelessly inadequate safeguarding policies, so that more children don’t have to suffer. If there is more I can do to help the cause, then please let me know.

  • Post 2014

    There is no legal duty of care for volunteer leaders who chose to ignore the escalating bullying by other Scouts of my neurodiverse child. We followed Scout Association policies and reported the bullying. Despite bringing it to their attention and being given assurances as to safeguarding, the Scout leaders left them with the same group of boys who then simulated anal rape on him.

    The leaders’ position was that they believed the bullies who were ‘good boys’, whose parents were involved in the Scouting movement, and that my son could choose to go elsewhere whilst the bullies were allowed to remain. My son developed PTSD now exacerbated by Covid into total isolationism and a lack of trust. All because of institutional norms that perpetuate a lack of regard for the safety of young people in their care.

    We attempted to obtain justice, were misadvised by three sets of solicitors that there was a duty of care, only to lose our case because there were no legal grounds. The Scout Association pursued costs against both my son and myself, meaning they now own a good percentage of our home.

  • Post 2014

    When I was 15, I was a young leader at a cub group whilst also in explorers and on a district cub camping weekend I met a leader from another cub group who was in his 20s at the time. Nothing happened that weekend, but following the camp we added each other on social media and started talking and the grooming began. It started as a friendship, we became best friends very quickly and I saw him as an older brother. We bonded over our struggles with our mental health and personal losses we had experienced in life.

    Within a few months of meeting him, I would meet up with him after school and one evening he told me he had feelings for me, and being too scared to say no to him, I said I did too and we started a relationship. Before I turned 16, I had been sexually assaulted and raped by him.
    The relationship lasted until I was 17, over 2 years since I first met him and for the majority of this time he was still a cub leader, until he was suspended by the organisation for reasons I still do not know, and thankfully he hasn’t returned since.

    Our relationship was living hell, he was emotionally abusive and I was raped on multiple occasions. The suicide threats and attempts were none stop and I did everything I possibly could to keep that man alive at the cost of my own mental health, my closest friendships and my education.

    In the last few months of our relationship the abuse got so much worse – he had enrolled at my college and I was being harassed constantly. We eventually broke up a few months later but the harassment continued and I was stalked one evening, which ended in him being arrested but later released with no further action. It seemed to be enough to scare him and on the most part I have been left alone since then.

    After years of therapy, I reported all the abuse to the scout association in 2021, however a safeguarding officer told me that because he was no longer a leader, it was a police matter not theirs, and they would not look into it further. A few months later, I got back in touch with them and pushed for it to be looked into it further, which thankfully it picked up by another safeguarding officer who reported it to the police for me. Unfortunately the police case dragged on for 18 months, he was voluntarily interviewed once (and denying it all), but the CPS decided not to charge him based on the technicality that he wasn’t MY scout leader, despite the fact that none of the abuse would have happened if it wasn’t for scouting.

    I now live with PTSD and anxiety from the trauma and my emotions towards him and the scout association are those filled with anger and upset. Although never directly confirmed, conversations with multiple members of the safeguarding team and the police have given me the impression they were aware of the abuse or a relationship between us to some degree, which looking back is no surprise given I met and went on holiday with his family, including a relative that is a leader at the same group and they saw me at an event in my explorer uniform!

    Things need to change within the organisation. I once loved scouting and it was such a huge part of my life, but they are putting their reputation before the safety of young people and I cannot understand how this is ever acceptable.

  • Sexual Abuse

    I was a cub scout in the mid sixties and not abused but was very wary of the cub leader. A few years later my father told me that he had seen in a local newspaper that the cub leader had been arrested for sexually assaulting various boys in the cub group.

  • Sexual Abuse

    I was on summer camp away from home. I guess I was maybe 12. I fell climbing a slope in the woods and cut my knee. I was taken to hospital to get it stitched. The Scout Leader suggested that I should sleep in his tent so he could keep an eye on me. During the night he masturbated me. I didn’t really know what was happening at the time and have only disclosed the incident anonymously when participating in CPD relating to sexual abuse.

  • Post 2014

    My ex-husband started as a scout leader during our divorce proceedings after his solicitor told him it would make him look more agreeable/sympathetic. He became leader of our daughters scout group and started using it as a tool of emotional abuse. She stopped wanting to go to scouts and he seemed to take this as a personal rejection and started terrorising her. He sent text after vile text about what a terrible daughter she was and texts and voice messages to me screaming and berating me for not “being more supportive”. Police got involved, and I contacted scouts safeguarding who made a LADO referral after looking at the evidence. I feel scouts safeguarding mostly handled the matter well, but it is concerning how my ex saw scout leadership as an easy, low barrier path to being a pillar of the community and a cloak of plausible deniability. Scouts has a recruiting shortage, and they are too quick to recruit people who a simple safeguarding check would show were unsuitable.

  • Sexual Abuse

    I was abused at 13. I never told anyone. At 17 as an apprentice, my abuser was one of the trainers in the company training centre. I told the managers. I was transferred to another location.

    At 63, I read his name in the local paper. Others, who had been abused were helping the police investigate him. I joined them. He got 6 years. An old man with God knows how many kids, who joined the scouts for fun, were abused by the bastard.

  • Grooming

    I was a Cub leader and became aware of the Venture Scout leaders behaviour over a long period. He was over familiar with the children, spending to much time with several individuals.
    He also approached my son for one on one kayak lessons.
    I decided to notify my area leader and nothing was done.
    He was found out to be having email conversations with an Explorer and when this came to light the association buried the issue and forced the individual out.
    I had enough of the association due to there negligence and left.