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Child Safe Scouting

Information for parents, guardians, carers, adult members (incl. Rovers), and the wider community

 

If anyone is in immediate danger, always call 000 first


For information on reporting child abuse, harm, or neglect, please click here

You can find reporting forms here


Joeys and Cubs, please click here

Scouts and Venturers, please click here

 

 

Scouts Victoria is a Child Safe organisation. We are inclusive of all, regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, religion, or abilities, and do not tolerate any form of harm, abuse or neglect.

Trigger warning: the articles below discuss child abuse and assault. You can find links to support services and helplines at the bottom of this page.

There's lots of information in the article below. Some of this information can also be found in short factsheets under Info and Forms.

 

 

You can find the following information below:

How do we make our organisation safe for everyone?

What is child abuse?. PAGEREF _Toc467078378 \h 3 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300370038000000

Our policy. PAGEREF _Toc467078379 \h 4 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300370039000000

Our procedures. PAGEREF _Toc467078380 \h 4 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380030000000

Mandatory reporting and failure to disclose. PAGEREF _Toc467078381 \h 4 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380031000000

Children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians. PAGEREF _Toc467078382 \h 5 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380032000000

Children with disabilities. PAGEREF _Toc467078383 \h 5 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380033000000

The history of Child Safe Scouting. PAGEREF _Toc467078384 \h 6 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380034000000

Scouts Victoria and the Betrayal of Trust report PAGEREF _Toc467078385 \h 7 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380035000000

Scouts Australia and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. PAGEREF _Toc467078386 \h 7 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380036000000

Child Safe Standards. PAGEREF _Toc467078387 \h 8 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380037000000

Resources for understanding or discussing child abuse. PAGEREF _Toc467078388 \h 9 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380038000000

Signs of abuse or neglect PAGEREF _Toc467078389 \h 9 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300380039000000

What about abuse of adult members?. PAGEREF _Toc467078390 \h 12 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390030000000

Reporting child abuse, harm or neglect PAGEREF _Toc467078391 \h 12 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390031000000

Historical cases of child abuse. PAGEREF _Toc467078392 \h 12 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390032000000

Photographs and privacy. PAGEREF _Toc467078393 \h 13 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390033000000

Social media policy and Scouting online. PAGEREF _Toc467078394 \h 13 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390034000000

Support Services. PAGEREF _Toc467078395 \h 13 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390035000000

Support specifically for children and young people, and those supporting them... PAGEREF _Toc467078396 \h 14 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390036000000

Support services for those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. PAGEREF _Toc467078397 \h 15 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390037000000

Support services for those from Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. PAGEREF _Toc467078398 \h 16 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390038000000

Support services for those living with disabilities. PAGEREF _Toc467078399 \h 16 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003300390039000000

Support for all survivors of sexual assault or abuse. PAGEREF _Toc467078400 \h 16 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003400300030000000

Support for adults who survived sexual abuse or assault as a child. PAGEREF _Toc467078401 \h 17 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003400300031000000

Other support services. PAGEREF _Toc467078402 \h 18 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003400300032000000

Information services


. PAGEREF _Toc467078403 \h 19 08D0C9EA79F9BACE118C8200AA004BA90B02000000080000000E0000005F0054006F0063003400360037003000370038003400300033000000

How do we make our organisation safe for everyone?

We understand that making our organisation Child Safe isn’t as simple as saying that it is. Here are a selection of the things that we do to make our organisation safe for children:

 

  • All of our adult members (anyone registered as a member and over the age of 18, regardless of whether their role results in their having contact with children) are required to hold a Working With Children Check (WWCC). This includes Adult Helpers, committee members and Rover Scouts, as well as employees
  • All Leaders (that is, anyone that wears a leader uniform – the one with navy blue sleeves) and Adult Helpers are required to undergo a National Police Records Check
  • All Leaders, when applying for membership, must provide three referees, regardless of whether they are already a member of Scouting. These referees are each asked a number of questions about the applicants suitability for the role
  • All adult members must agree and adhere to the Code of conduct for adults in Scouting and Code of Ethics. Any breach of these codes can result in a termination of membership
  • ‘Two adult leadership’ – Leaders are expected to ensure that there are at least two Leaders present on any activity, with more as required by the appropriate leader/ youth ratio for the age group, except for activities where – appropriate to the maturity of the young people and the type of activity – young people are taking part without adults present at all
  • ‘Within sight, out of hearing’ – Leaders are expected to avoid any situation where they are alone with a child, except where strictly necessary. They are taught to keep in sight, but out of hearing, whenever one-on-one conversations are necessary
  • All of our adult members are required to undertake training, including training in Child Safe practices
  • Any reports of child abuse are taken seriously and dealt with promptly
  • We are currently working to ensure details on how to report any instances of abuse are both accessible and readily available to all of our members and the wider community, both through this webpage, our written publications, and readily displayed in all our halls and meeting places

What is child abuse?

This information is also available in a factsheet found here.

Child abuse is an act or omission that endangers a Child’s physical or emotional health, well-being or development and can occur as a single incident or multiple incidents over time.

The Child Safe Organisation Guidelines separate child abuse into five different categories: physical abuse, emotional/ psychological abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and cultural, racial or religious abuse.


Physical abuse is causing, or threatening to cause, physical injury to a child, or causing injury as a result of physical punishment or aggressive treatment of a child.

Emotional or psychological abuse can include rejecting, ignoring, humiliating, isolating, threatening, or saying mean or nasty things to a child, or allowing someone else to do so.

Sexual abuse is when someone uses their authority over a child to involve the child in a sexual activity, and can include fondling, penetration, and exhibitionism. The exploitation of children for sexual gratification is also included here.

Neglect is where someone fails to meet the basic needs of a child – providing them with water, food, shelter, clothing, medical attention, hygiene, and appropriate supervision.

Cultural, racial and religious abuse is where someone discriminates against or shows hatred towards a child on the basis of their culture, race or religion. It can be obvious, such as calling names or discrimination, but it can also be much less obvious – such as demonstrating a lack of respect in attitude or values, or failing to show a positive attitude towards other cultures, races or religions.

 

The abuse of children can have lifelong effects on their wellbeing. We do not accept any abusive behaviour and will take action against any individuals who are abusive towards our members.


Our policy

You can find the full policy and procedures of Scouts Victoria on child protection here Scouts Victoria Child Protection Policy 2016.

These are designed to ensure, that as far as possible, our volunteer, leaders and members may enjoy the Scout program in a safe and secure environment.


Our procedures

For the full outline of our procedures, please refer to the policy found above.

In brief, should a member of our organisation become aware of – whether by witnessing it or hearing of it from someone else – an incident of child abuse, they are required to report it to the Executive Manager of Scouts Victoria. They do this through both an initial phone call immediately after becoming aware of the incident, and by completing a Child Protection Report form which is then emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If required to by Failure to disclose legislation, they must also immediately inform Victoria Police of their suspicions.

Incidents reported through our other reporting services, for children and non-Scouting member adults, will be dealt with as required by the incident.

If reported to Victoria Police, Scouts Victoria will act in accordance with their requests.

If we determine that it is not an incident that Scouts Victoria is required to report to external authorities, an internal investigation may be conducted and actions taken based on that investigation. Responses could include suspension or termination of membership, a performance review, further training, a written warning, or no further action.

As of July 1, 2015, if individuals holding positions of authority within an organisation, such as Scouts Victoria, are found to have failed to reduce or remove the risk of sexual abuse of children or young people under the age of 16, they can be charged with the offence of Failure to protect.


Reporting child abuse, harm or neglect

The process of making complaints or allegations of child abuse, harm, or neglect is straightforward and accessible. For survivors of child abuse please see the appropriate section below.

We take this issue seriously, and we ask that you do too. False or misleading reports can do significant damage to those they accuse, and to those around them. They also take resources away from investigating genuine claims.

To make a report, please call our team on 03 8543 9877 or send an email providing as many details as possible to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please follow up with a completed Child Protection Report Form immediately, emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A factsheet with more details on this process can be found here.


Historical cases of child abuse

If you are a survivor of an historical case of child abuse, and would like to report the case for the first time, or are not happy with how it was dealt with in the past, please contact Scouts Victoria on or (03) 8543 9877.


Mandatory reporting and failure to disclose

There are several different Acts of Parliament that are relevant to the reporting obligations of adult members of Scouts Victoria. The Australian Institute of Family Studies explains these both for Victoria and the rest of Australia (bear in mind that reporting obligations vary based on where the crime took place).

In short, as of October 27 2014, the Failure to Disclose law applies to all adults (over 18 years of age). This means it applies to all adult members of Scouts Victoria, regardless of any other reporting obligations they may or may not have.

This legislation applies when an adult (over 18 years of age) has reasonable grounds to believe that someone over the age of 18 has committed a sexual offence against a child (someone under 16 years of age) within Victoria, and requires that adult to report what they know (or believe they know) to Victoria Police.. Further details on this legislation can be found at the Department of Justice’s factsheet. It does not apply – at this point in time – to forms of abuse that are not sexual.

Some adult members of Scouts Victoria will also already be mandatory reporters. Mandatory reporters are members of certain registered professions, and, according to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 must make a report to the relevant authority if, "in the course of practising his or her profession or carrying out the duties of his or her office, position or employment (...) forms the belief on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection". All mandatory reporters should already be familiar with their obligations; further information can also be found at the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ webpage.


Children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians

We recognise that different cultures and communities around the world have different approaches to life and the safety of children. We value and encourage diversity in our organisation, and work to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included.

We will not compromise our child safety policies on the basis of cultural differences, but we will seek to understand and discuss the differences, in order to ensure the safety of all our members, both for individuals’ safety and the wellbeing of our organisation as a whole.

If you believe that your cultural needs are not being met, or we can do more to engage with you and others of your culture, or you would like to help us better engage, please contact the State Commissioner Inclusion and Diversity on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A brochure called Spot It, Stop It was produced by the NSW government in 2005 which explains what different types of abuse are, and is available in 17 languages (Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, Fijian, Korean, Macedonian, Russian, Samoan, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Tongan, Turkish, Vietnamese). Please note that the reporting information at the end of each brochure is, of course, irrelevant in Victoria, and the brochure does not cover current Victorian laws in regards to child safety.

A factsheet on Cultural Safety can be found here.

 



Children with disabilities

Children and young people with some types of disabilities are often at greater risk of child abuse as offenders often target those they see as most vulnerable. Many of our members – both children and adults – have disabilities of various kinds, and we work with them to adjust activities to ensure they’re involved in everything that they possibly can be.

Children with disabilities can also be at a higher risk of child abuse if they require more personal care. We encourage parents and guardians to take an active role in discussing with their child’s leaders exactly what care their child needs, as well as helping their Scout Group source appropriate care for their child – whether it’s attending events as a carer for their child themselves, or finding someone else in their community able to do so. The National Disability Insurance Scheme may even be able to help with this.

Some children with disabilities will also have a carer attending activities and camps with them. Some carers may need to assist the youth member they are caring for in ways that would otherwise be considered a breach of our guidelines, such as helping a young person to use the toilet, or sharing a tent. These exceptions can be made, but reinforce the need for parents or guardians to discuss the requirements of their child’s needs, and the child’s own views must be taken into account.

Signs of abuse in children with disabilities may be different depending on the disability, both to other disabilities and to those without any disabilities.

Autism Speaks (US) provides information about the sexual abuse of children with autism at their webpage.

The UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) provide a number of their resources for teaching children about what parts of their body are private in formats accessible to those with autism or learning difficulties, as well as deaf children (albeit in British Sign Language).

The Scout Association UK also provides a large number of factsheets relating to Scouting for people with special needs, which can be found through their Scout Shop and downloaded for free. They cover topics such as toileting, camping, and communication. Bear in mind that some of these fact sheets refer to policies that apply to their Scout Association, but not to ours, and that many of the contacts listed in them are UK-based, not Australian.

 


Gender and sexually diverse children

Children and young people who identify as LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, or other) face a unique set of challenges. It is imperative that they feel welcomed and accepted in a Scout Group, and that they are supported through any challenges that they may face. Scouts Victoria is currently developing a set of resources for Leaders and others who are supporting a young person (or, indeed, an adult) who identifies as LGBTIQ+. In the meantime, we direct you to resources from The Scout Association UK, and remind you of some key things to remember when a child in your group questions their gender or sexual identity, or comes out as a member of the LGBTIQ+ community:

· Discriminating against, or being abusive (particularly emotionally or psychologically) towards an LGBTIQ+ youth member (or adult), just like abusive or discriminatory behaviour towards any other members, is against our Code of Conduct. All adult members of Scouting are required to sign this Code of Conduct, and behaviour that does not follow this Code of Conduct can result in the termination of membership.

· Bullying is not accepted in Scouts and should be dealt with, at least initially, by the Scout Group.

· Families of youth members are expected to behave appropriately while attending Scouting events and activities, or when communicating with other members of the group. Scouts Victoria will not tolerate abusive behaviour and will take necessary steps to protect all its members who are undertaking Scouting activities.

· Scouts Victoria does not require boys and girls to sleep in separate tents. The only requirements are that all children (and their families) are comfortable with the arrangements.

· If a member asks to be identified by a different name, or wishes different pronouns to be used to refer to them, it is important to respect their wishes. Acceptance is vital to ensuring the mental wellbeing of our members.

· Our registration system allows our members’ gender to be recorded as male, female, or other. It is important to remember that by ‘gender’ we mean what the young person identifies as, as opposed to their biological sex, and the gender that the person in question identifies as must be respected. We use this information for demographic analysis of our membership, to see who is in our membership, where we’re doing well, and where we need to improve. If a member starts identifying as a different gender to the one that they were registered under, regardless of whether they are a youth member or adult, they simply need to contact the Victorian Scout Centre for the change to be made.

· Youth members who wish to be identified by a different name than the one they were registered under can easily be registered under a new name with their parent/ guardians’ permission. Particularly for older youth members, though, it is important to also note the requirements for adult members, explained below.

We do require adult members to be registered using the name listed on the identity documents they provide when registering; for Rovers who have linked from Venturers, this includes the name listed on their Working with Children Check. We must have our members identifiable by their legal name to ensure the safety of all our members. Of course, if an adult changes their name legally, this can be easily updated with proof of name change documents through the Victorian Scout Centre. However, we do also provide the option of listing a preferred name, which does not need to be listed on any identity documents.

 

Support services for LBGTIQ+ young people can be found in the support services section at the bottom of this page.

The history of Child Safe Scouting

Scouting has been proactive on child protection since the 1930s, when local areas were warned to be vigilant and show no mercy in denying membership to unsuitable people. In the 1940s, local areas were advised that any inappropriate behaviour must be reported to the police. Police checks for aspiring Scout Leaders began in the 1960s – nearly 50 years before the Working With Children Check.

A factsheet with more details on the history of Child Safe Scouting can be found here.


Scouts Victoria and the Betrayal of Trust report

Scouts Victoria has cooperated fully with the Victorian Government’s Betrayal of Trust inquiry. You can find the completed report here, and Scouts Victoria's submissions - and appendices to the submissions - to the enquiry here.

You can also find, following the Betrayal of Trust’s inquiry, Scouts Victoria’s submission to ‘A Victorian redress scheme for institutional child abuse’.


Scouts Australia and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

As Scouts Victoria is only one of eight Branches that make up the National Scout Organisation here in Australia, our national body, Scouts Australia, has been the point of contact for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. For more information on this, please see the Scouts Australia webpage. Further information can also be found here.


Child Safe Standards

Scouts Victoria has embraced the Child Safe Standards (CSS), managed by the Commission for Children and Young People, with which we are required to comply from January 1 2017. The CSS consists of seven standards which we are expected to meet, alongside a set of three principles that should be considered in our compliance with each standard. These standards stem from the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Act 2015.

In July 2016, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse also put forward 10 elements that make up a Child Safe Institution. These elements are in many ways very similar to the CSS. Scouts Victoria is working to continuously improve its compliance with the CSS, but is also taking into consideration these elements. A comparison of the standards and elements can be found below:

Victorian Standards

National Elements

1

Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety through effective leadership arrangements

1

Child safety is embedded in institutional leadership, governance and culture

9

Implementation of child safe standards is continuously reviewed and improved

2

A child safe policy or statement establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children

10

Policies and procedures document how the institution is child safe

3

A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children

7

Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training

4

Screening, supervisions, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel

5

People working with children are suitable and supported

7

Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training

5

Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse

3

Families and communities are informed and involved

6

Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focussed

10

Policies and procedures document how the institution is child safe

6

Strategies to identify or remove risks of child abuse

8

Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur

7

Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children

2

Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously

6

Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focussed

Key principles

Promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal and CALD children, and the safety of children with disabilities

4

Equity is promoted and diversity respected

3

Families and communities are informed and involved

8

Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur

 

Resources for understanding or discussing child abuse

Responding to children and young people’s disclosures of abuse: Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.

Child Wise Fact Sheets:

· What is child sexual abuse?

· Normal vs concerning sexual development in children

· What is child sexual abuse? (pictorial poster)

· Relevant legislation and type of child safe screening used in each state and territory

· Child abuse in Australia (infographic)

What to look for in a child safe organisation: Commission for Children and Young People, n.d.

Preventing Abuse: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (UK), 2016


Signs of abuse or neglect

From the Scouts Australia National Child Protection Policy 2016:

· Is the child:

o Displaying a fear for their safety or wellbeing?

o Showing unexplained/ unlikely physical injuries; eg. bruises, scalds, burns, cuts, marks, fractures, sprains, strains, dislocations?

o Seeming to regularly be underfed, not have a suitable place to sleep, or lack basic suitable clothing?

o Regularly speaking negatively of themselves?

o Suddenly unusually aggressive or overly compliant?

o Suddenly unusually fearful, anxious or regressive?

o Persistently or significantly inappropriately talking about or displaying sexual activity that is not age appropriate?

o Regularly mentioning unexplained health or wellbeing concerns; eg. stomach aches, headaches, crying, heightened sensitivity?

o Expressing or suggesting suicidal thoughts?

· Is there any suggestion by the child or others of grooming behaviour by any adult in contact with the child; eg. special gifts, secrets, alone time together, special names, online contact?

· Has anyone else suggested that any of the above may apply to a child, including other children?

 

From the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Queensland Government. Accessed 21.10.2016:

Physical abuse

Physical indicators:

  • unexplained cuts, abrasions, bruising or swelling
  • unexplained burns or scalds, cigarette burns
  • rope burns or marks on arms, legs, neck, torso
  • unexplained fractures, strains or sprains; dislocation of limbs
  • bite marks
  • dental injuries
  • ear or eye injuries.

Behavioural signs:

  • avoidance of particular staff, fear of a particular person
  • sleep disturbances
  • changes in behaviour (e.g. unusual mood swings, uncharacteristic aggression)
  • changes in daily routine, changes in appetite
  • unusual passivity, withdrawal
  • self-harm, suicide attempts
  • inappropriate explanations of how injuries occurred
  • excessive compliance to staff.

Sexual abuse

Physical indicators:

  • direct or indirect disclosure of abuse or assault
  • trauma to the breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs
  • difficulty walking or sitting
  • pain or itching in genital and/or anal area; bruising, bleeding or discharge
  • self-harm, abuse, suicide attempts
  • torn, stained or blood-stained underwear or bedclothes
  • sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy
  • unexplained money or gifts.

Behavioural signs:

  • sleep disturbances
  • changes in eating patterns
  • inappropriate or unusual sexual behaviour or knowledge
  • changes in social patterns
  • sudden or marked changes in behaviour or temperament
  • anxiety attacks, panic attacks, clinical depression
  • refusal to attend usual places (e.g. work, school, respite)
  • going to bed fully clothed
  • excessive compliance to staff.

Psychological/emotional abuse

Physical indicators:

  • speech disorders
  • in the case of a child, lags in physical development, failure to thrive
  • injuries sustained from self-harm or abuse
  • suicide attempts
  • anxiety attacks.

Behavioural signs:

  • self-harm or self-abusive behaviours
  • challenging/extreme behaviours
  • excessive compliance to staff
  • very low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness
  • clinical depression
  • marked decrease in interpersonal skills
  • extreme attention-seeking behaviour.

Neglect

Physical indicators:

  • physical wasting, unhealthy weight levels
  • poor dental health
  • food from meals left on face and/or clothes throughout the day
  • dirty, unwashed body and/or face, body odour
  • person always wearing the same clothes
  • ill-fitting and/or unwashed clothes
  • person is always over- or underdressed for the weather conditions
  • food is consistently poor quality, insufficient, inedible and/or unappetising.

Behavioural signs:

  • constant tiredness
  • persistent hunger
  • unexpectedly poor social/interpersonal skills
  • signs of loss of communication and other skills
  • staff member, service provider, carer or support person consistently fails to bring the person to appointments, events, activities
  • person is persistently denied opportunities to socialise with others in the community.
You can also find more information at our factsheet here.

What about abuse of adult members?

If you, or another adult you know, has been abused during a Scouting activity or by another Scouting member, please contact the State Commissioner Personnel on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or, where someone is in immediate danger, contact 000. If a serious incident has occurred, please report it to the Incident Report line, on 03 8543 9877 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


National Redress Scheme

Scouts Victoria and Scouts Australia are and always have been fully supportive of the introduction of a Redress Scheme.

You can find, following the Betrayal of Trust’s inquiry, Scouts Victoria’s submission to ‘A Victorian redress scheme for institutional child abuse’ at that link.

As the National Redress Scheme announced in November 2016 is to operate at a national level, Scouts Australia will be taking the lead. You can find their response here.

 

Photographs and privacy

Every member, upon joining Scouts, signs a permission form that provides Scouts Victoria with permission to use their photos for publication online and elsewhere.

Scouts Victoria never publishes the full name and group of a child alongside their image without the express permission of that child’s parent or guardian, and we suggest that all Scout Groups in Victoria follow the same guideline.

If, for any reason, you do not wish to give consent to your child’s or your own image being used in promotional material for your group or elsewhere, ensure that the leaders in your group are aware of this. Additionally ensure that anyone taking photos is aware, as it is very easy to take and share

Social media policy and Scouting online

Social media and the internet form an integral part of the life of most young people today. It’s important, however, that everyone – young and old – is aware of the way in which they are using these online services and the impacts they can have. For guidance on responsible behaviour online, visit our page for Scouts and Venturers here.

To see the Scouts Australia social media policy, click here.


Support Services

There are a number of professional counselling and guidance services available to help victims of abuse, and those around them. Below are a list of professional counselling and guidance services that can be contacted, in most cases, any time of day or night. Scouts Victoria also provides counselling services to those who have suffered abuse or trauma through Scouting.


If anyone is in immediate danger, always call 000.

We have categorised support services into the following:

· Support specifically for children and young people, and those supporting them

· Support for all survivors of sexual assault or abuse

· Support for adults who survived sexual abuse or assault as a child

· Other support services

· Information services


Support for children and young people, and those supporting them

24 Hours: Kids Helpline1800 55 1800

Kids Helpline is Australia’s free, 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.


Office hours: Bravehearts - 1800 272 831

Bravehearts has been actively contributing to the provision of child sexual assault services throughout the nation since 1997.

The Bravehearts national information and support line can be accessed by anyone wanting information or support regarding child sexual assault, including but not limited to parents, carers, adult survivors and professionals such as teachers, guidance officers, doctors and psychologists.

Services provided include:

  • Information and support;
  • Counselling;
  • Advice and referral;
  • Support for professionals working with children;
  • Guidance around reporting disclosures;
  • Information on normal and problematic sexual behaviour; and
  • Teaching personal safety.

Our toll free 1800 272 831 Support Line is open during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday AEST (Please note hours vary on public holidays).

People with hearing and speech impairments can reach us through the NATIONAL RELAY SERVICE:

TTY users phone 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 272 831

Speak and Listen users phone 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 272 831

Internet relay users connect to the NRS www.iprelay.com.au/call/index.aspx then ask for 1800 272 831

 

Office hours: Child Wise - 1800 991 099

The Child Wise National Child Abuse Helpline is a toll-free number providing Australians with access to expert advice from trained counsellors and an opportunity to speak up about child abuse.

Child Wise also receives calls from people seeking information or support in regards to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child  Sexual Abuse. Please click here for more information about the Royal Commission and our Starting Point  Helpline services.

You can contact the toll-free National Child Abuse  Helpline from Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm AEST:
Email:
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Support services for those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds

Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY)

The CMY works to ensure that young people have every opportunity to succeed in Australia. Through a combination of specialist support services, training and consultancy, knowledge sharing and advocacy, they are working to remove the barriers young people face as they make Australia their home.

“The young people we work with tell us they prefer not to be defined by labels. It is important however, to explain that most of our work focuses on young from migrant and refugee backgrounds, 12-25 years old, with a particular priority on those who are newly-arrived to Australia.”

 

Victorian Multicultural Commission – Community Directory

The Multicultural Commission Community Directory provides a searchable list of organisations associated with different ethnicities found throughout Victoria. These cultural and ethnic groups can help those looking to learn more about their own (or another) culture, as well as provide an additional support to those from CALD communities.

Support services for those from Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) was established in 1973 to address the specific medical needs of Victorian indigenous communities. The organisation has expanded steadily over past 40 years to provide a comprehensive range of medical, dental and social services for our community.

As well as providing a variety of medical services, VAHS is committed to supporting the well-being of the community through contributions to community events and activities. VAHS is also committed to assisting research into the ongoing needs of the community.

 

Victorian Aboriginal and Community Services Association Ltd.

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd (VACSAL) is a community based, community controlled organisation compromising of representatives from Koorie organisations across the state. It provides advice to Government on a range of community development issues as well as being a major provider of extensive services to the Aboriginal community in both the metropolitan and some regional communities.


Support services for those living with disabilities


National Disability Insurance Scheme – Victoria

The NDIS is a national program that will provide a new way of delivering services and support for people with permanent and significant disability in Australia. With the NDIS, people with disability can choose supports and services to meet their individual needs, rather than have to fit into a one-size-fits-all system. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is the independent agency responsible for implementing the NDIS.

 

Office hours: National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline – 1800 800 052

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline exists to provide support to you or someone you may care for to report abuse and neglect of people with disability.

It is available between 9am and 7pm on weekdays, except for Australian public holidays.


Support for LGBTIQ+ young people and adults, and their family and friends


After hours: Switchboard Victoria 1800 184 527

Switchboard is a volunteer organisation which provides a free, confidential and anonymous telephone counselling, referral and information service for the Victorian and Tasmanian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities and their supporters. The phones are operated by trained volunteers who themselves identify as LGBTIQ.

Switchboard operates between 3pm and midnight every day.

 

Minus18

Minus18 is an organisation for LGBTIQ people under the age of 18, run by LGBTIQ young people. It provides a variety of services, from social groups and events to mentoring and online support. They do not provide immediate counselling services.

 

Support for all survivors of sexual assault or abuse


24 hours: 1880 RESPECT1800 737 732

1800RESPECT is the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. It is a confidential online and telephone counselling, information and referral service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

After hours: Sexual Assault Crisis Line1800 806 292

The Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria (SACL) is a state-wide, after-hours, confidential, telephone crisis counselling service for victim/survivors of both past and recent sexual assault.

SACL operates between 5pm weeknights through to 9am the next day and throughout weekends and public holidays.

Support for adults who survived sexual abuse or assault as a child

Survivors of child sexual abuse

Information and support for those personally affected by child sexual abuse, or for parents of a child who has been abused.

 

Office hours: Blue Knot Foundation - 1300 657 380

Blue Knot Foundation, formerly known as Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), is the leading national organisation working to improve the lives of 5 million Australian adults who have experienced childhood trauma and abuse. Blue Knot Foundation helps adults who have experienced trauma in childhood recover. This includes people who have experienced child abuse in all its forms, neglect, domestic violence in childhood and other adverse childhood events.

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Operating Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST


Other support services

24 hours: Lifeline - 13 11 14

Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services. Find out how these services can help you, a friend or loved one.

13 11 14 is a confidential telephone crisis support service available 24/7 from a landline, payphone or mobile.

Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can contact Lifeline. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation our trained volunteers are ready to listen, provide support and referrals.

 

Office hours and evenings: Victims of Crime Helpline - 1800 819 817

The official Victorian Government service for people affected by crime.

Provides free information and support to help you manage the effects of crime and guide you through the legal process.

Call or text the Victims of Crime Helpline to:

  • get advice about reporting a crime
  • find other services that can help you
  • get information about your rights
  • get information about how courts work
  • get help applying for compensation and financial assistance.

Open 8am -11pm, 7 days a week

Call 1800 819 817

Text 0427 767 891

 

Care Leavers Australia network - 1800 008 774

CLAN is a support, advocacy, research and training network for people who grew up in Australian orphanages, children's Homes, foster care and other institutions. CLAN understands that being raised without your own family has lifelong effects which require lifelong support services.

CLAN offers free telephone and face to face (if in NSW or VIC) counselling, help to obtain your records, help to write your story and a bi-monthy newsletter containing all the latest information for Care Leavers


Information services

Better Health Channel

The Better Health Channel provides health and medical information to improve the health and wellbeing of people and the communities they live in. This information is:

  • quality-assured and reliable
  • up-to-date
  • locally relevant
  • easy to understand.

The information on the site aims to help people understand and manage their health and medical conditions. It does not replace care provided by medical practitioners and other qualified health professionals.

It is fully funded by the Victorian Government, with no commercial advertising or corporate sponsorship.

 

Community Health Directory

Information on community health services, which provide universal access to services as well as targeted services for vulnerable population groups.

 

Support services in your state