I am proud that Scouts Victoria has been at the forefront of child protection for more than 75 years, and that previous Chief Commissioners ensured that Scouting in Victoria put in place practices to protect children in our care. I am committed to ensuring that we continue to ensure we provide a safe environment for young people, as I know you are.
Scouts Victoria is introducing additional child protection measures for all adults in Scouting.
Leaders, Rovers, Office Bearers and Parent Helpers, and all adults in Scouting, will complete a 45-minute e-learning module specifically developed for Scouting. The unit "Child Safe Scouting" is accessed through the e-learning portal.
More than 6000 adult volunteers will need to complete this online training on child protection issues by February 22 2015. This is a joint effort and involves us all. Together we must ensure that Scouting as an organisation continues to be as child-safe as possible.
Scouts Victoria has been aggressively proactive on child protection for more than 70 years - including police reporting since 1947, and stringent checks on all volunteer applicants since 1961.
This extra training - to be completed by February 22 2015 - will be instituted for all adult volunteers who work with children, including parents and many who work professionally in education and childcare.
I believe that child protection requires total honesty and transparency.
Scouts Victoria has long held a zero-tolerance policy toward anyone who poses any threat to children. But, despite 76 years of striving to protect the children in our care, we can always try harder.
The new online training module will further raise awareness, in particular of the necessity to report any concerns.
The new online training continues the trend over many decades of Scouting being at the forefront of child protection measures.
For example, we are proud that we were requiring police checks on all our volunteers - most of whom are parents - for more than 30 years before the Working With Children Check was introduced.
I thank you in advance for your support in working with me to protect children in Victoria and I urge you to complete the training as soon as you are able prior to February 22 2015.
Child protection and Victorian Scouting - a chronology
1938: local Scouting organisations in Victoria were instructed to be vigilant in ensuring that no one whose moral character was open to any suspicion be admitted as a volunteer Leader, and to show “no false mercy” if such a person had gained admission.
1947: Victorian Scouting required local authorities to inform police if a criminal incident occurred.
1961: Scouting formalised the steps for accepting applicants to be volunteer Leaders, including providing referees, facing a panel interview, having suitable character, and being willing to undergo training.
1970: applicants had to agree to a mandatory police check - more than 30 years before the Victorian Working with Children Check.
1993 and 2002: Scouting published two booklets on child protection, to increase awareness within families and Scouting
2014: online training for more than 6000 adult volunteers announced
Brendan Watson Chief Commissioner, Scouts Victoria