Breaking the Cycle

Statement

As a youth organisation with a membership of 65,000 spread across a wide age range of youth, Scouts Australia believe that this issue of bullying needs to be addressed at a policy level and at a program and youth enactment level. Training adult leaders and youth leaders at every sectional level of Scouting will mean that our members begin to understand issues related to bullying and harassment and that adults as well as youth have the skills and strategies to address these issues. In some cases it will be necessary to call on skilled professionals and teams to provide knowledge about the varied aspects of this issue in order to embed the concepts into youth programs, training schemes and the award scheme.

  1. Today, Scouting youth have a better knowledge of issues related to bullying than their Scouting leaders. Our leaders, both youth and adult will be provided with the tools to recognize, confront and then deal with bullying in a suitable and timely manner.

Scouts Australia does not condone any form of bulling or harassment in any section or between any individuals or groups of individuals. Scouts have a zero tolerance of bullying.

  1. Bullying has been defined by World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) as the intimidation or mistreating of weaker people. Bullying is a form of aggressive and harassing behaviour. This antisocial behaviour occurs across geographic, racial, and socioeconomic segments of society. Bullying prevents its targets from enjoying a safe, stress-free living learning, and working environment (www.scout.org).

Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. The outcome being that it causes fear or an individual and group to feel uncomfortable.

  1. As the foremost youth organisation, Scouts Australia promotes a consistent message across all Branches, to all youth members, parents, adult and youth leaders and the community that bullying and harassment is not part of the Scouting Promise and Law and bullying behaviours will not be tolerated. Everyone has the right to be safe, feel safe and be supported and respected as individuals through programs that will inhibit bullying and harassment.
  2. It is the responsibility of all members in the Association to take on the responsibility of understanding actions that manifest/present as bullying behaviours or as harassment and actively work to help others understand that such actions are not acceptable both from within the movement or from those outside the movement.

Youth feel bullied at vulnerable times in their social and physical development. Recognising the roles of victim, bystander and bully and taking on training to help educate the scouting community to become more resilient and respectful of all people is the responsibility of individuals, patrols/ units/ crews, groups, districts, regions and Branches.

By recognising and discouraging bullying and implementing anti bullying practices into programs for youth, every individual, parent and community member will understand that the organisation takes bullying seriously and will act on those who do not uphold the Scout Promise and Law.

  1. Scouts Australia has implemented a process which is designed to show all members the steps to follow if they feel uncomfortable or bullied in a Scouting situation. These skills will flow onto everyday skills for members. They may include counselling practices, sanctions, interviews with parents and organisational action at a Branch level depending on the severity of the issue.

Members should view their section of the web page and be able to discuss and explain the importance of respect and positive relationships as they apply to their age group, e.g. a Cub Scout will know what it is to be friendly and helpful to others. Each Branch has Grievance Procedures in place should these need to be followed. Trained professionals are available to assist any Scouting members at a local level.

The email stopbullying@scouts.com.au is for reporting of incidents once the line system is exhausted and breakingthecycle@scouts.com.au is to be used for comments on the initiative.

  1. This belief statement has been developed after extensive research during 2013 – 2014  with Scouts Australia and the National Youth Council and National Youth Forums.

It is proposed that the policy be reviewed every three years.