Procedure Highlights for Reporting Child Abuse, Bullying or Neglect
Boy Scouts of America's Youth Protection Policies
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. No person may abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.
As part of the BSA’s “Scouts First” approach to the protection and safety of youth, the BSA has established a dedicated 24-hour helpline at 844-SCOUTS FIRST (844-726-8871) to receive reports of any known or suspected abuse or significant violations of youth protection policies that might put a youth at risk.
You may also contact your Scout Executive of this report, or any violation of BSA's Youth Protection policies, so he or she may take appropriate action for the safety of our Scouts, make appropriate notifications and follow up with investigating agencies. Also see Scouting's Barriers to Abuse.
If you are a staff member of a volunteer Scout leader who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect, what should you do? (Items 1 and 2 apply to all situations, not just Scouting activities.
1. Assure that the child is now in a safe environment. Call 911 for police intervention in an emergency.
2. You must make an immediate oral report to the local child protection service or law enforcement agency. Most law enforcement agencies now respond to 911. The local child protection service is listed in the telephone book (800 252-2873). The call can be made anonymously. Be prepared with as many details as possible. Be sure to ask about the kind of response to expect and what further action you should take if you think there is an emergency.
3. You must also make an immediate oral report to the Scout Executive or his designees (see Item #4 and #5 below). He will confirm that you have already made an oral report to the local child protection service or law enforcement agency. The Scout Executive or his designee then becomes responsible for making a report.
4. If you are unable to reach the Scout Executive, you must then contact the 2nd contact listed below.
5. If you are unable to reach any of the above, contact one of the Council Youth Protection Champion (see contact names and numbers below).
6. You must also prepare a written report with as many details as possible and submit this report to the Scout Executive as soon as possible. The information in this report will be made available to the agency responding to your oral report of child abuse or neglect. Do not investigate; just write down what you know about the situation. The Scout Executive (or his designee) will assist you with the preparation of this report, if needed. This information will also be used by the Scout Executive to make a proper report to the national registration services of the Boy Scouts of America.
7. "Reason to Believe" means evidence which if presented to individuals of similar background and training would cause those individuals to believe that a child was abused or neglected. Under no circumstances are you to investigate or ask others to look into it. Confidentiality is a must as well as immediate reporting. When in doubt, report.
If the child reports to you they have been a victim of child abuse or neglect, you must make an immediate oral report. Additionally, if you have reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, even if the child hasn’t reported anything to you, you must make an immediate oral report.
If you think a child "may" be a victim of child abuse or neglect, but you are not sure if you have "reason to believe" that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, you may wish to discuss the matter with the Scout Executive, before making a report. When in doubt, report.
A child is anyone under age 18. The perpetrator (abuser) may be a child or an adult of any age.
8. A person, other than a person accused of child abuse or neglect, which makes a report of a child who may be a victim of child abuse or neglect is immune from any civil actions. However, immunity does not attach for any person who has acted maliciously or in bad faith. A person making a report that a child may be a victim of child abuse or neglect or assisting in any requirement of this chapter (of the law) is presumed to have acted in good faith.
9. Following is a list of telephone numbers you will need: