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A good abuse prevention program protects youth by establishing commonsense barriers against mental, physical and sexual abuse. These barriers also prevent situations that might be misinterpreted, thereby causing harm to the reputations of adult volunteers in the form of false accusations.

The BSA's YP polices are familiar to Americans already involved in Scouting, mostly because the BSA places a priority on training and has made these materials practical and easy to understand. For those who are not familiar with these policies, see "Youth Protection & Adult Leadership

The Canadian BPSA-BC's Youth Protection (YP) materials include the simple to understand "Youth First: Code of Behavior" and the more technical and comprehensive "Harassment and Abuse Prevention Program." 

For those already familiar with the BSA materials, the BPSA-BC policy requires the following additional safeguards: 1) Adult Application requires one additional character reference (total of four--see "Interview Checklist"); 2) Adult volunteers applying to become registered leaders submit a police record check before completing an application to join; and 3) Two-deep leadership applies to all activities, not just trips and outings. This supersedes the BSA's "Rule of Three" that applies to situations such as Merit Badge Counseling, where one adult leader may meet with a Scout if the Scout has a "buddy" with him.

BSA YP materials have the following advantages: 1) The "Youth Protection and Adult Leadership" guide is less technical but more comprehensive than most YP materials; 2) BSA features age-appropriate educational materials that are required reading for the Scouts themselves, see: A Parent's Guide (Appendix I). This "3Rs" ("Recognize, Resist, Report") model conveys a simple message to Scouts that they can use in their everyday life; 3) The BSA materials are already familiar to Americans with previous BSA Scouting experience; 4) the materials are easily downloadable from the Internet.

Both the BPSA-BC and the BSA policies share the following additional common sense barriers to abuse: No mixed adult-Scout sleeping in tents; Respect for privacy in shower facilities and while changing clothes; No one-on-one contact: confidential conversation between an adult and a Scout is done out of earshot but always within sight of the other people; No hazing or secret organizations; No "skinny dipping."






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.