Child sexual abuse continues to be a significant topic of our national conversation, and here are three important messages on that subject to know and share:
- Child sexual abuse is a societal issue that extends beyond any one institution or organization. The statistics are startling!
- According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience child sexual abuse at some point in childhood. Locally, the MN Department of Human Services' “Minnesota’s Child Maltreatment Report, 2021" states that there were 4,727 reports of child sexual abuse in 2021.
- On page 58 of the report, we can also see that the MNDHS also found that individuals who would be considered legal guardians or other relatives of the youth (such as biological parents, unmarried partners of parents, stepparents, legal guardians, adoptive parents, foster parents, siblings, or other relatives) were the overwhelming majority (94.5%) of determined alleged offenders.
- Scouting is committed to being part of the solution and we are in a position to help. Child safety experts have repeatedly called Scouting’s youth protection policies and practices the “gold standard” for youth-serving organizations. Nationally and locally, Scouting shares its expertise with a wide variety of other organizations. Scout leaders and parents make all kids safer as they apply our youth protection training and practices in other parts of our community.
- Kids are safe in Scouting. We have always had a strong record compared to the larger community, but since the implementation of two-deep leadership in 1987, sexual abuse has been practically eliminated in Scouting. We work diligently toward its total elimination by ensuring that our programs incorporate the latest and best youth protection practices.
No harm to a child is ever acceptable anywhere in our community. Scouting is playing a leading role in combating child sexual abuse, but we all need to work together to deal with what is indisputably an unacceptable public health and safety problem.
This page is designed to provide training, information and resources to help eliminate child abuse.
Scouting’s updated, online youth protection training course includes cutting-edge research from top experts in the field of child abuse prevention, covering topics of bullying, neglect, exposure to violence, physical and emotional abuse, and child sexual abuse. These experts help present the content and the course will take about an hour to complete.
This training is required for all Scouting volunteers but is applicable for everyone who works with children. There is no charge and you do not have to be a Scouting volunteer or parent to take the course. You simply create a login at MyScouting.org, which can be for a one-time use.
Visit: My.Scouting.org and create an account. Click “Menu” then “My Dashboard” from the menu list. The “My Training” page displays to take Youth Protection training. There are three modules followed by a test for each to complete the training. These can be taken in a single or in multiple sessions (you must keep your account login information to return for multiple sessions).
Training for youth members focuses on the “three R’s” of youth protection:
- Recognize that anyone could be an abuser.
- Respond when someone is doing something that goes against your gut or against the safety guidelines.
- Report attempted or actual abuse or any activity that you think is wrong to a parent or other trusted adult.
These are taught through video and online training courses explained and accessed below.
Creating a Safe Environment - Additional Information for BSA Members and Leaders
What is Youth Protection Training (YPT)?
Youth Protection Training is split into two groups, one for adults and the other for youth.
Adult training is REQUIRED for all volunteers! This training reviews the policies and procedures that registered adult leaders and parents in Scouting must know and enforce during any Scouting activity. Training also covers what to do if a youth protection incident occurs and how to report the incident to local authorities and Scouting officials. Adult leaders take this training in addition to their position specific training to be considered basic trained. Parents (non-leaders) are encouraged to take the training, too. Youth Protection Training is to be renewed at a minimum of every two years.
Youth training covers a bunch of topics that are age-appropriate. The key takeaway is for youth to "Recognize, Respond, and Report" any situation that is inappropriate when interacting with an adult or another youth member. Scouting's buddy system is emphasized as a method to keep youth safe. For example, youth are taught to never walk off alone, they should always have a friend with them.
How do I take the Adult Training?
To get started, go to the my.scouting.org website and create an account. You don't have to be a registered adult leader to take the training. If you are, you'll want to link your BSA member ID number with your my.scouting account. Your BSA member ID number is on your wallet size membership card, the official Scouting unit roster, or your can call a council registrar to get your ID number at 612-261-2364. Linking your BSA member ID will ensure your official training record contains the current status of your YPT.
Browse to the e-learning area after logging in and you'll see Youth Protection Training, as well as other online courses you can take. Most people can finish the online YPT in less than 90 minutes and you can stop anytime, save your progress, and continue later.
Log on to My.Scouting
How do I Train our Scouting Youth?
Scouting has an age-appropriate training for each of our programs which can be accessed using the links below. These were developed in partnership with the subject matter experts of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation.
Cub Scouts: Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure
Cub Scout National BSA Youth Protection Materials
These may be used as an elective adventure OR they may be earned in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for the Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light badges of rank.
Scouts BSA: Personal Awareness Safety Series
Scouts BSA National BSA Youth Protection Materials
The materials are designed to educate Scouts about what to do if they experience abusive behavior, educate them about safe and unsafe touches, and encourage them to go to a parent or another trusted adult for help
This Personal Safety Awareness may be used in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for the Scout and Star rank.
Venturing: Personal Awareness Safety Series for Venturers ages 14 - 17
Venturing National BSA Youth Protection Materials
These are tailored to educate older teens about what to do if they experience abusive behavior, educate them about safe and unsafe touches, and encourage them to go to a parent or another trusted adult for help.
New Youth on Youth Training Materials
Scouting keeps kids safe through a multi-layered process of safeguards. A complete list is found on the National BSA Youth Protection website linked below, but it can be overwhelming to keep track of it all. You can always reach out to us to ask questions, but here is a quick overview of some of the key policies to keep youth safe:
Read the full details of all policies
Two-Deep Leadership Policy – Requires two adults present with youth at all times and prohibits one-on-one situations between adults and youth in person or electronically, within or outside of our program.
Mandatory Reporting – All persons involved in Scouting must report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any youth is being, or has been, physically or sexually abused.
Barriers to Abuse – Strict requirements for parents, leaders, and youth, and programs including: registration and background checks of adult leaders, mandatory adult supervision, accommodation requirements (separate tenting arrangements for males and females, youth sharing tents must be within two years of age, youth and adults tent separately, except in Cub Scout family camping), and program requirements (use of buddy system, respect for privacy, all aspects open to observation, prohibition of hazing and initiations plus many other safely measures).
Formal Leadership Selection Process - Including criminal background checks and other screening efforts.
Volunteer Screening Database - A tool the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for all youth-serving organizations, to prevent individuals that were removed from their organization from re-registering (Scouting has had this in place since the 1920’s).
Youth Protection Training – Mandatory for all volunteers with educational materials for parents and Scouts featured in handbooks and integrated into programs. Further, Scouting has age-appropriate training for youth members in each of our programs developed in partnership with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation.
These policies and procedures are recommended by youth protection experts and can be applied to all organizations.
Reporting Abuse or Concerns - Definitions and Directions
“Mandatory reporting” for everyone involved in Scouting is defined as “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 possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing or obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.”
Further, any youth protection policy violations must also be reported to the appropriate Scouting officials.
Complete details on reporting procedures and contacts are found on this related page
National BSA Resources
Scouting has developed extensive materials to help protect children. Below are some quick links to several. All these and more are accessible via the National BSA Youth Protection Website: https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/
- "How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide" – Booklets by program levels to offer basic resources to help parents understand how child abuse happens and to keep their children safe
- Cyber Chip Online Safety - To help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online, developed with content expert NetSmartz®, part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children®.
- Bullying Awareness - Fact sheets and resources to protect children.
- Social Media Guidelines
- Guide to Safe Scouting - Comprehensive guide to Scouting policies and procedures, including youth protection, aquatics, camping, sports, activity planning and more.
- ScoutHelp - The BSA offers assistance with counseling to any Scout, former Scout, or family member of any Scout who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. Individuals can email [email protected] or call toll free at 855-295-1531.
External Resources and Information
Governmental Reports and Information
Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center - The Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center and Boy Scouts of America have formally announced a partnership that will introduce the “Protect Yourself Rules” program to more than 1.2 million Cub Scouts nationwide. Through animated videos and ancillary learning material developed specifically for younger audiences, the program aims to educate children about how to recognize inappropriate behavior, including how to distinguish between safe and unsafe touches, and what to do when confronted with abusive behavior.
It is also a good source for Child Sexual Abuse Myths & Facts.
Third Party Review
Warren Report Summary, Third Party Review of BSA's Ineligible Volunteer Files
Questions and Answers Regarding Youth Protection in Scouting
To ensure that everyone is on the same page over policies and procedures concerning Youth Protection, commonly asked questions and their answers can be found by following this link:
National BSA Youth Protection FAQs
Of course, if you have any questions not addressed on this page, please do not hesitate to reach out.