Ten leaders from Norway’s female and male Scout and Guide associations have been suspended on suspicion of or reports of sexual assault since 2003, reports say.
In the past nine years or so, KFUK-KFUM (YWCA-YMCA) association representatives say several cases have “crossed the line but are not criminal offences”.
“One case is further back in time, but was taken up after 2003. In the two cases that are not closed, these persons are no longer appointed, or have duties in the organisation,” secretary general Mats Billermark says in a statement.”
KFUK-KFUM as a whole has 20,000 members in 500 different groups in total around the country.
Regarding the five from Norway’s Guide and Scout Association (NSF), general secretary Jens Andreas Egebak Morsø remarks, “all five have resigned their duties and job.” Just under 20,000 children and youths are members here.
Svein Mossige, associate professor at the University of Oslo’s department of psychology, faculty of social sciences, tells Dagbladet, Wednesday, that groups like the scouts that involve interacting with children are targets for adults who wish to abuse.
“Those who are interested will choose places where they interact with children. It is important neither to be naive, nor to exaggerate the danger that it could happen. Most people who have participated in the Scouts/Guides or in sports teams will say that it [being members] was good experience”.
In his press release, KFUK-KFUM secretary general Mats Billermark states “it’s essential for Scouting to provide safe meeting places for all children, youths and adults. Scouting should be a safe and secure venue for our members. Scout Leaders should be safe people for young people. We therefore focus heavily on preparedness, have been working systematically to prevent trans-boundary behavior, and take the issue very seriously.”
“The risk of abuse is everywhere in society, including NGOs. But the scout movement in Norway is uncompromising: Children and youth safety comes first. To safeguard scout work, we have taken action in several areas, from police certificates of good conduct for leaders to leadership training and courses, and in collaboration with other organizations, police and health services,” he concludes.
News of these ten purported incidents comes days after it was revealed that the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of suspected abuse cases over 21 years, allegedly committed by volunteers.