Scouting in Europe Supports Members to Strengthen Child and Youth Protection Policies
One of Scouting’s highest priorities is the safety and protection of children and youth. For many years, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) has supported National Scout Organizations to strengthen their Safe from Harm child and youth protection policies to adhere to the highest possible standards for safeguarding young people.
In Europe, the European Scout Bureau has made a significant progress in supporting its 40 national Scout organizations to improve the implementation of their Safe From Harm policies.
In October 2019, the Erasmus Plus-funded project, “Safe from Harm in Scouting” was launched, and has since been coordinated by la Fédération Nationale des Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses du Luxembourg-FNEL (one of the National Scout and Guide Associations in Luxembourg) in partnership with the European Scout Region and four other organisations across the continent.
The project has set itself on a promising journey to support National Scout Organizations from five countries: Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia, to develop and review their national child and youth protection and safeguarding policies. The review and development process has been carried out in collaboration with national child protection authorities to ensure the alignment of these policies with the current national legislation of each country, as well as the European Union’s child protection policy.
In addition to the tailored policy review and development support provided, the project looked to create a series of coaching and training materials that would be rolled out through national Safe from Harm trainings. The aim of the trainings is to equip adult Scout Leaders with the necessary skills and attitudes to implement Safe from Harm policies within their organisations. Moreover, e-learning modules are also planned to be developed to provide continuous training on Safe from Harm practices, with a special focus on cross-border activities.
Beyond the outputs of the project, a strong peer-to-peer learning spirit has been established among the participating partners. Carmen Pauleti, a speech therapist, Scout Leader and the Project Coordinator in Romania, shares her positive impressions about the exchanges with other partner countries that have been made possible by the project.
“I am very pleased with the amount of inspiration that this regional partnership has brought to us. In Romania, we are almost at the final step of finalising our Safe from Harm policy, however, we have been struggling to come up with cool and practical ideas that would help to put the strategy into action,” said Pauleti.
“Thanks to this partnership, we have been able to draw inspiration from other countries. For example, I have been very impressed by the Scouts of Luxembourg’s Safe from Harm goodie bag that is handed out to each and every Scout Leader in the country and which contains all of what a Scout leader needs to know about Safe from Harm. We are currently looking into replicating a similar idea in Romania.” added Pauleti.
Elsewhere in Europe, continuous support is being offered to National Scout Organizations such as Malta, Montenegro and Turkey to improve the implementation of their Safe From Harm policies. In 2020 ,a number of volunteers were trained to become Safe from Harm consultants. They are set off to provide more timely, tailored and direct support to all Member Organisations and to ensure a stronger adherence to World Scouting’s Safe From Harm policy.
Photo Credit: Eeva Helle/Suomen Partiolaisten