Scouts pay 260 million baht in abuse compensation, campaign urges safeguarding policy change

Over the past decade, more than £6 million (260 million baht) has been paid out in compensation to individuals who suffered abuse within the Scouts, according to information obtained by the BBC File on 4. The data, collected from eight law firms specialising in child abuse claims, revealed that 166 cases were settled during this period. Lawyers have also noted an increase in female survivors coming forward.

Two women who claim they were abused in the Scouts have initiated a campaign urging the organisation to amend its safeguarding policy. Data from the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers showed that at least 260 claims were filed against the Scouts in the last ten years, with 166 cases settled, 50 unsuccessful, and others still ongoing. The Scout Association confirmed that the £6m figure was broadly in line with their knowledge, although they could not provide a definitive number due to historical cases being spread across numerous insurers.

The majority of the claims, 96%, related to offences that occurred before 2013, with many dating back to the 1960s to 1990s. However, some instances have taken place more recently, even within the last few years. The Scout Association, which has hundreds of thousands of children across the UK as members, expressed deep regret for the abuse suffered by anyone within the organisation.

Abbie Hickson, from Bolt Burdon Kemp solicitors, stated that a significant issue was that “safeguarding policy relies much on the integrity of the adult involved.”

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Dino Nocivelli, from Leigh Day Solicitors, who has represented abuse survivors for the past 20 years, observed an increase in the number of female complainants. Girls were allowed to join the Venture Scouts in 1976 and across all age groups from 1991, but it wasn’t until 2007 that Scout groups were required to accept girls.

Sheanna Patelmaster, 27, and Lucy Pincott, 29, both claim they were abused when they joined the Scouts in 2007. They have now started a petition asking the Scouts to change their safeguarding policies. Their recommendations include having a paid safeguarding lead officer in every Scout county in the UK to monitor volunteer conduct and ensure allegations of abuse are properly reported. They also suggest that both the Scouts and Girl Guiding should be subject to an inspection regime similar to Ofsted.

In response to the campaign, the Scout Association said, “Any form of abuse is abhorrent and we’re sorry for Sheanna and Lucy’s terrible experiences.” They added that they have robust safeguarding policies, training, and procedures in place, which are reviewed every other year by the NSPCC.

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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