A safe environment enables the self-development of children and young people as well as the development of positive and healthy interpersonal relationships (children and young people to children and young people; children and young people to adults; adults to adults).
The World Safe from Harm (SfH) Policy consists in a set of actions designed to make sure that every person involved in Scouting is responsible and committed to protecting children and young people inside or outside the Movement, so everyone can feel safe, at any time. It facilitates the development and implementation of policies and procedures at the national level to create a safe environment for all. It requires that appropriate support mechanisms are in place to facilitate the promotion and development of National Safe from Harm policies and strategies, as defined by this policy:
“Accountability for the implementation of this policy falls upon all adults, on National and local level, who are responsible for leading and governing NSOs, whether their focus is on developing and implementing Youth Programmes, implementing adult management systems or performing any other support roles (World Safe from Harm Policy, Scope, page 12).”
As applied to adults in Scouting, SfH policy suggest the most appropriate conditions for adults to play their role, either as volunteers or professional staff:
“The development, facilitation and delivery of the Youth Programme, as well as all other functions and roles in Scouting, requires the active involvement of competent adults. Adults who are attracted and motivated to join Scouting will develop the competencies needed to perform different roles throughout their time in the Scout Movement. Implementing a safe environment in Scouting also means that all adults are listened to, taken care of, and supported so that they can carry out their role at their best in all situations. It is the responsibility of each organisation to create the most appropriate conditions for adults to be able to play their role, either as volunteers or professional staff (World Safe from Harm Policy, Chapter 2 Adults, page 16”
Addressing child and youth protection issues is vital for the safety of Scouts. The needs of young people must be paramount and their interests at the centre of all decision-making. It is important to ensure that everyone knows how to act to keep the organisation safe. Therefore, even recognising the different cultural and organisational backgrounds, this must be one of the key priorities in all NSOs.
Finally, it is an important role for adults to empower young people to contribute to the creation of a safe environment.