"Children have the right to protection from all forms of violence (physical or mental). They must be kept safe from harm and they must be given proper care by those looking after them". [The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 19]
The Scout Association is committed to this ethos and seeks to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the prevention of all forms of bullying among members. To this end all Scouting activities should have in place rigorous anti-bullying strategies.
Policy, organisation and Rules of the Scout Association:
Rule 2.5 Responsibility within the Anti-Bullying Policy
It is the responsibility of all adults in Scouting to help develop a caring and supportive atmosphere, where bullying in any form is unacceptable.
Adults in Scouting should:
Group policy on bullying
- be aware of the potential problems bullying may cause;
- be alert to signs of bullying, harassment or discrimination;
- take action to deal with such behaviour when it occurs, following Association policy guidelines;
- provide access for young people to talk about any concerns they may have;
- encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like;
- help ensure that their Group/Section has a published policy or charter on bullying.
- Definition of bullying:
Bullying is defined as a deliberate attempt to intimidate or persecute another person, by physical or psychological means.
Any such behaviour is clearly at variance with the Scout Law.
- All members of the Group, young and old, have a plain duty to avoid acting in an overbearing way. However, it must also be recognized that:
- It is necessary for good order and safety, and entirely in keeping with the Scout ethos, for instructions to be given by those in charge of activities, including other youngsters, and for appropriate action to be taken if these instructions are not followed.
- It is particularly important for the effective operation of the Patrol system in the Scout Troop that the ability of Patrol Leaders to organise their Patrols should not be allowed to be undermined by misconceived complaints of bullying. Allowances must be made for the relative inexperience of PLs in carrying out their duties.
- It is normal and healthy for youngsters playfully to tease each other, and this must not be confused with bullying.
- It is quite possible for a person wrongly to perceive a threat which is not intended.
- Any member of the Group who feels he is being bullied should take the matter to whomever he feels is an appropriate person within the Group. That person must act in accordance with POR Rule 2.5 above.
It is important to report problems as soon as they occur, so that the true facts can be established straight way, before memories are blurred or witnesses become unavailable.
- Any member of the Group who becomes aware that another member is being bullied should take suitable action to deal with this situation, as above, or report it to the GSL.
- The Group Scout Leader will take the ultimate responsibility for listening to all grievances within the Group, advising, and where he considers it desirable, taking action to remedy any situation. If the GSL is unable to resolve the situation, he will refer to the District Commissioner.
Refer also to the HQ Factsheet 'Resolving Complaints FS140100'.