BSA expands tools to combat abuse with new safety awareness videos

Scene from the Grooming & Sexual Abuse video.

Youth protection continues to be the top priority of the Boy Scouts of America. It’d be hard to find a better partner in these efforts than the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring every child’s right to a safe childhood.

We’ve already seen positive results from the Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure, designed to provide Cub Scouts information on how to recognize, respond and report abuse.

Now, the BSA has launched a new series of personal safety awareness videos in partnership with the Sinatra foundation. Developed and scripted by child advocates, psychologists and national scholars, the four new videos are aimed at youth ages 14-17. They’re also excellent for Scout volunteers and any adult who wants to learn how to better respond to and identify unsafe situations on behalf of minors.

The videos are intended to help young people know how to safely seek help in a variety of situations — including when facing abuse by a family member, trusted adult or another youth.

Screenshot from the Persistence for Pictures video, in which a young woman is pressured to share inappropriate pictures of herself.

“We are dedicated to ensuring every child’s right to a normal, safe, healthy, and secure life,” says John Thoresen, Director and CEO of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center. “We do this by providing the tools and resources necessary to identify, prevent, and report unsafe situations. This new personal safety awareness video series with the BSA goes a long way toward fulfilling this goal by providing those involved in Scouting, and all minors, with these resources for creating safer and healthier lives.”

With the Protect Yourself Rules video series aimed at youth ages 5-10, a separate series of videos aimed for youth ages 11-13, and the latest videos designed for teens ages 14-17, the BSA now has Youth Protection educational content for youth of all ages, as well as multi-layered, expert-informed safeguards in place to help prevent abuse.

The BSA’s safeguards include mandatory Youth Protection training for all volunteers and employees; a leadership policy that requires at least two Youth Protection-trained adults be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children — either in person, online, or via phone or text; a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff, including criminal background checks; a ban on the use of recording devices/cell phones near bathrooms and shower houses; and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement.

Click here to learn more about the BSA’s youth safety measures.

About Aaron Derr 436 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.