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Scouts: Millions paid out over UK abuse in the past 10 years, according to lawyers.

Uk abuse Millions of pounds have been paid out in the last ten years to people who were abused in the Scouts, lawyers say. Scouts

UK abuse

Data from the eight law firms that responded after BBC File on 4 contacted 13 firms that specialize in child abuse claims showed that more than £6 million had been paid out in compensation over the previous ten years.

Over the same period, 166 cases were resolved, and solicitors reported that more female survivors were coming forward.

The Scout Association expressed its “deep regret” for any abuse that may have occurred.

It comes as a campaign to change the Scouts’ safeguarding policy has been launched by two women who both claim they were abused there.

Historical cases UK abuse

File on 4 contacted 13 firms who specialize in abuse claims, all in the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

166 cases were settled in the last ten years, according to information provided by the solicitors who responded, out of at least 260 claims made against the Scouts. Some 50 had failed, while others were still in progress.

The Scouts were asked by the BBC how much money they had distributed over the previous ten years.

The association claimed that it had been difficult to arrive at a precise figure because much of the data was fragmented across numerous insurers and related to historical cases, but the £6 million figure roughly matched what they were aware of.

The association estimates that 96% of claims involved offenses that occurred before 2013—many from the 1960s to 1990s. However, a few have occurred more recently, most notably in the last few years.

The Scout Association, whose programs include squirrels, beavers, and cubs, as well as Scouts and Explorer Scouts for older children, has hundreds of thousands of children across the UK signed up as members.

In the past ten years, more than 100 allegations of abuse have been settled, according to Bolt Burdon Kemp’s attorney Abbie Hickson.  She cited the fact that “safeguarding policy relies heavily on the integrity of the adult involved” as a major issue. 

“Scout leaders who sexually assaulted children under their care are by nature very sly, covert, cunning, and opportunistic people. They also want to facilitate the abuse by removing a child from the group.” 

For the past 20 years, Dino Nocivelli of Leigh Day Solicitors has been defending victims of abuse. He claimed that more women were filing complaints.

Beginning in 1976, young women could join the Venture Scouts. Then, in 1991, girls were permitted to join in all age groups; however, it wasn’t until 2007 that accepting girls into Scout groups was mandated.

Many women and girls have spoken to me in the past 12 months about sexual misconduct in the Scouts, according to Mr. Nocivelli. “It is not a problem from the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. The 2000s, 2010s, and, regrettably, the 2020s are all experiencing this UK abuse.”

UK abuse

When they joined the Scouts in 2007, Sheanna Patelmaster, 27, and Lucy Pincott, 29, both claim they were subjected to abuse.

Sheanna was 13 years old, while her leader was 24. He allegedly offered to let her stay at his house one night each week after Scouts after noticing she was unhappy at home.  She claims that he repeatedly sexually assaulted her there.  UK abuse

Lucy claims that she was groomed by a young leader when she was 13 as well. He offered to drive her to Scouts after buying her jewelry and spirits.

During one of these trips, according to Lucy, she was coerced into having sex with him.  According to her, the sexual abuse persisted for nine months on camps and the grounds where the Scout meetings were held. 

According to Lucy, other adult volunteers saw what was happening but did not report the abuse. She later filed a lawsuit against the Scout Association for breaching their duty of care. Although it didn’t admit fault, it paid Lucy £160,000 as part of an out-of-court settlement. UK abuse

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Sheanna and Lucy have now started a petition requesting that the Scouts alter their safety procedures.

Every Scout county in the UK should have a paid safeguarding lead officer who is in charge of overseeing volunteer behavior and making sure that allegations of abuse are properly reported. They are advocating for an inspection process akin to Ofsted to be applied to both the Scouts and Girl Guides. UK abuse

Anyone who has experienced abuse in the Scouts is encouraged to share their stories as part of the campaign, Yours in Scouting.

“Any form of abuse is abhorrent, and we’re sorry for Sheanna and Lucy’s terrible experiences,” the Scout Association said in a statement to the BBC.

Added was: “Nothing is more important than the safety of the nearly half a million young people who participate in Scouting every week in the UK. Strong safeguarding policies, guidelines, and practices are in place with us.  The NSPCC now evaluates these every other year.” UK abuse

  • If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this news story, you can visit the BBC Action Line.

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