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Stories

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 4

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  • Post 2014

    I started scouts when I was 12. I was a very shy and reserved child and one particular leader, man in his mid 50s, took me under his wing and made me feel much more at ease with joining the group.

    The grooming began pretty much immediately as he spoke to my parents regularly and formed a close bond with me and my family both in and outside of scouts. He used to give me lifts to various different scouting activities and would start with holding my hand, telling me I am pretty. It then started to get more sexual as he complimented me on my breasts and my behind. When I was 13 he would then take me on ‘dates’ at the local cafe and would give me money and ask I didn’t mention it to anyone. He would invite me round to his house where I would eat dinner with his wife and children as he rubbed my upper leg under the table. He would tell me about other women he was sleeping with and was extremely graphic about their sexual encounters. He made me watch pornography with him whilst we were in his car as he masturbated and made me touch myself in front of him, I was still only 13.

     

    The grooming and abuse continued as I carried on attending scouts. I had fallen in love with scouting, I loved sailing and I really enjoyed summer camps. I felt like I would be letting everyone down if I came out and told people about the abuse. When I was 15 I was a big tennis fan and was vocal with him about my love for Wimbledon. I told him it was always a dream of mine to go one year. Disguising it as a “scouts trip” He booked us a hotel room to go to Wimbledon just after my 16th birthday.

     

    Looking back, I can see exactly what was going to happen had I gone along with the trip. I met my boyfriend (now husband) 3 weeks before this trip was supposed to go ahead. I told him everything about my leader and he urged me to go to the police and the scouting association. It came as a shock to me as I was so unbelievably brainwashed I didn’t see anything wrong with his behaviour. To me, he was my friend and my parents trusted him so what could be wrong?

     

    The story gets worse as I remember sitting with the group leader and having him shake his head and tell me I must have got something wrong and there was no way that he would do this. He was eventually told to leave scouting, however, nearly 10 years on I regularly pass my old scout group and see his car parked out there. I just hope to god some other young girl hasn’t fallen in his trap.

  • Post 2014

    I’d been in Scouting since I was 8 years old. It had become such an important part of my life, that as soon as I could, I become a young leader at age 14 with a Cub group while I attended Explorers.
    Upon joining, an adult leader quickly became attached to me and built a ‘friendship’. In hindsight I can see that be was clearly grooming me, buying me gifts etc. I told him I wasn’t comfortable talking outside of sessions but he just wouldn’t stop and made out that he’d be lonely and wouldn’t cope without me. I wanted to tell somebody but I was embarrassed as nothing particularly bad had happened and who could I even tell?? The entire group of leaders were all his family.
    Over a period of time, this escalated into sexual abuse and an abusive ‘relationship’. He’d meet me before and after meetings, as well as frequently taking me out to ‘support my mental health’. He became extremely controlling of me. I couldn’t leave else he’d threatened to kill himself/ tell the police.
    Other leaders were aware the rules were broken by him. Perhaps they were not aware of the extent to which they were, but regardless, they chose to do nothing.
    Eventually I reached out to my Explorer leader about what had been happening. Rather than taking it seriously, they told me to try and sort it out between us. They were friends with my abuser. My Explorer leader began to groom me too and would spend a lot of time with me, inviting me to their house. Once my abuser had started essentially stalking me, they finally encouraged me to go to the police.
    My Explorer leader did get removed from scouting after investigation. I’m aware that they did exactly the same to another girl a few years previously. Neither of us can say anything about it due to the hostility of the leader’s family.
    Which is the same with the family of my abuser. He got sent to prison. But despite that, I faced rumours stemming from grown adults blaming me for what happened.

    Scouts still have not completed their internal investigation.

    I have been left with PTSD from the trauma and such anger that Scouts have just ignored what happened to me in order to protect their leaders. It felt like a group of families just trying to protect each other while compromising the safety of the children in their care and it has to change.

  • Sexual Abuse

    I was abused by a scout leader along with some other boys.

    I went to the police and nothing happened to start, more people then came forward and it went to court and he was arrested and put in jail. I went to the head of the scouts UK and the basic message from them was – we are very sorry. Nothing else was done.

  • Post 2014

    I was a rainbow, a brownie and then a scout and onto explorers, and after a few years returning at 20 to be a leader at 2 explorer groups in my area.

    When I was 13 (a scout) and a part of the local scout show, a leader in his 20s also in the show offered to drive me and my younger brother to and from rehearsals, my parents were grateful of the help.

    I exchanged numbers with this adult, and it turned into him leaving anonymous flowers at my house, begging me to be his girlfriend – to which I refused – he started following me when I walked to school, intercepting me in the cut through between alotments just to ‘make sure I got there safe’ he would show up in his car after school and incist he gave me a lift home, if I refused he’d only follow along side in the car or park and walk with me. It only stopped when his girlfriend, a woman with his baby in her 20s found that he’d been texting me and confronted me, and I told her it was unsolicited it then stopped. We’ll call him ‘creeper’.

    My experience in explorers was great, we had a dynamic group of leaders, did lots of camps, I had lots of friends and made fabulous memories. One of our leaders at the time, probably in his mid 20s so approximately 10 years older than me, we will call ‘smokey’ because he is a heavy smoker.

    When I rejoined my old explorer group and another locally as a leader, the same team of leaders were running the explorer units, including smokey, and they were grateful for a female leader regularly for camps and such.

    On a camp with the explorers locally, only one tent was brought for the 4 leaders, with 2 pods. I wasn’t too bothered about having to share with a bloke…as planned to sleep in all my clothes anyway. That evening a few beers were had amongst the leaders, me included. I don’t fully remember what happened after this point, but I don’t recall having more that 2 drinks, (as a responsible adult on the trip why would I!?)

    I woke up the next morning, with a complete blank from the night before, I was alone in my pod, the sleeping bag was over me and I was trouserless, knickerless, and sticky…in the not cleaned up after being ejaculated into kind of way. I got dressed, and asked where smokey was, and he’d gone home for a shower, odd. I felt dizzy, and confused, and when smokey returned he offered to drive me home rather than stay and finish the hike with the explorers that day.

    For about 8 years, I kept this entirely to myself, I told family I’d ‘gotten too drunk’ and was hungover…..which was a laughing point in our family, ‘remember when she got drunk on a scout camp’ and this covered up the confusion.

    I continued to be a leader for a few months, avoiding smokey, however he called me occasionally in the early hours asking if I was free, I never answered.

    Creeper then joined our unit as a leader, I hadn’t seen him for 7 years, and avoided him, until he asked why I was ignoring him, I said what you did when I was a kid was wrong, and he brushed it off and got angry with me, saying I lead him on etc. It was that point I left scouts.

    I have moved to a new district, and I so want to go back as a leader, now 10 years on from smokey. I love what the scouts can do for young people, it’s a shame this experience is ruined for some.

    Smokey was after 2014, Creeper was before.

  • Post 2014

    My husband was charged with physically assaulting my son, his stepson. I was a witness. A local Scout leader had my husband help out as a volunteer with the Scout group while on bail for child assault – and behaved inappropriately around the situation as regards believing my husband’s version of events etc. leading to an incident – where the Scout leader bullied me – which I later tried to report. But if your child isn’t in Scouts, it seems to be impossible to raise a concern or complaint. So the Scout leader carried on leading Scout groups.

  • Sexual Abuse

    It is maybe too long ago to be relevant, except for saying that this is not a new problem, is a feature of our world, and needs to be treated as such, as is now normal in other organisations.

    I was a scout in the early 1960’s. Our scoutleader was known to have promoted favourites who he had sex with. He invited me to his flat once for tea to “get to know me better”, but I think decided that I would not be suitable. But I could name others who were not so lucky, two of whom left quite soon after, and a third whom I believe was very upset by it. No doubt there were more. And since it was common knowledge among the boys, I can’t believe that there was no awareness for the Group Leader, or other seniors.

    Too long ago for police action I would assume. I can’t imagine he is still in a position of authority. Chances are that he is dead (I guess at least 85 if not) and those whom he targeted would be over 70, like me.

  • Sexual Abuse

    In 1964 I was the Troop Leader of a scout troop in ****. I loved scouting and enjoyed every aspect of my role which being a senior member meant mentoring the younger scouts. I was approached by a 12 year old boy who had been in my patrol who wanted to confide in me. The ASM had been taking him away in his car after scout meetings and sexually abusing him. The scout just wanted it to stop not get anyone into trouble. I reported my concerns to Skip, the scoutmaster. He said, ‘Leave it with me, I’ll deal with it.” And nothing happened. My young scout came back asking why he was still being abused (forced to have oral sex with the ASM in his car). Again I asked Skip to get it stopped. Again nothing. I resigned in disgust and have felt guilty ever since that I didn’t do more to protect my young scout.

  • Post 2014

    My son was not sexually abused, he was bullied by one of the scout leaders and the membership secretary. She was the one who instigated the bullying but the other leader, or leaders were, more than happy to join in.

    The local association leader was absolutely rubbish at dealing with this and the bullying extended to our whole family from this. There was no point in complaining to them. So I had to complain to head office. It turned out that the membership secretary, was abusing her position in being in charge of the waiting list and there were a number of other complaints about needing to be nice to her to jump the waiting list to get in.

    The head office dealt with the complaint but did not follow their own procedures and, as a result of having complained, we were hounded out of the association.

    I was a guide movement member from when I was 6 yrs to when I was 30+ and did leadership as well as being a member. I was an outdoor activity leader with top roping and abseiling qualifications, mountain leadership, kayaking instructor and leader quals and offered all my expertise and leadership to the local group. I have also lead campfires and know many games, songs and skits. All this has been lost to the association due to the way my son was abused, and the scouts were rubbish at dealing with it, kicking out the abused not the abusers.

  • Insufficient Training

    Speaking as a volunteer with the Scouts: These experiences are real, and I fully support the goals of this campaign.

    “The key problem is that safeguarding relies much on the integrity of the adult involved.” says Abbie Hickson, a solicitor who has represented victims of abuse in Scouts. Indeed. There is a long list of safeguarding rules that leaders are required to follow, but the people that should enforce these rules are the same leaders. It only takes one wicked individual and the inaction of the other few. It is also not enough to only set rules, provide some basic training and expect these rules to be followed. When a rule is broken, volunteers can either confront the offender, the right but brave thing to do, or remain silent. This should be improved by raising awareness, in-person training and creating accountability.

    If a Leader has a safeguarding concern, they are asked to contact the head of their local group. The head of the local group then raises this to the county commissioner. The Leader is not given any specific training on how to deal with a specific safeguarding concern, with the idea that the local head and the county commissioner would know what to do. These local head and the commissioner roles are also volunteers, and are often grudgingly filled as they are seen as mostly administrative roles. It only takes one person of this chain to fail in their duty for the current safeguarding system to abandon a child. None of these people are impartial or well-trained. This is before the matter reaches The Scouts Association. There should be a paid Safeguarding Officer in every county and every Leader should have a direct line of communication to them.

    If a young person or parent/carer needs to raise a safeguarding concern, I don’t even know how they would or should do it. I have not seen any young people or parent/carer be given this information. I am also not aware of any ways within the scout movement for the survivors of abuse to be heard.

    Finally, there is simply no reason why any of these campaign goals cannot be achieved. The Scout Association collects payments from each scout, which can be used to fund the improvements. The Leaders are asked to take a 2-hour training session on how to pick the right insurance policy for each activity; there is time and energy for better training. The resistance will come from those who are more worried about their perception.

  • Sexual Abuse

    As a child protection social worker I worked with a girl who had been sexually abused by her father for some years before she finally told someone. He was a scout leader, well respected in his community, and there was considerable pushback from his well-connected friends and family against him being investigated by the Local Authority. They all insisted it couldn’t be true.
    He killed himself on the day he was due to answer to police bail.
    (The Scout Association wasn’t directly involved, I’m just saying I know it can happen.)