Re: Youth Protection - Involve Police?
Jack Weinmann (aa855@CLEVELAND.FREENET.EDU)
Sun, 26 Mar 1995 14:40:32 -0500
In Greater Cleveland Council we were told that the ONLY person that we were
supposed to contact was the Council Executive, he/she is the Scout
Executive and we were told that this executive has had special training in
handling suspected child abuse cases.
The Scout Executive is THE ONLY interface to the leader who has the
information about the suspected abuse. The SE will then contact the proper
authorities and set the investigation into action.
We were told that the SE has ALL of the information as to WHAT AGENCIES to
contact, etc... It was also said that these investigations would be
handled in a manner that would not, indeed, tip off the suspected abuser OR
embarass the alleged victim.
We were also told that if this chain of command is not followed properly
(ie., anyone else was informed of the suspected abuse) that the suspect
could very well find out about the allegations and take those measures that
Scott mentioned in his post. That is the very reason that we were told to
notify ONLY the SE. In our council HE is the one who initiates the
notification of the Police and whatever child protection agencies there are
that can properly handle the investigation with a high degree of SECRECY!
Let us not forget that the "suspect" is innocent until PROVEN guilty and if
the alleged abuser gets information that he/she is being investigated they
can, indeed, get rid of the damaging evidence. On the other hand, if the
news of the investigation gets out, as was the case with one of out posters
recently, the damage to the suspect's reputation is done BEFORE any guilt
has been established. What happens if the charges are not true? Their
reputation, their lives, possibly marriage, family, career, etc... are all
I believe that IF the proper channels are followed, and IF the contact
person for your council, whether it's your SE or his/her designee, has been
properly trained in the reporting of suspected abuse, there is
less chance for a "loophole" or a mistake to be made that would allow a
perpetrator to slip through the cracks on a technicality.
I would certainly hate to report an abuse and find out that the abuser
could not be brought to trial because they either found out about the
investigation and destroyed evidence, or that it was mishandled and they
got out of it because of some loophole in the law.
We all have heard about cases where procedure was not followed and the
accused never went to trial. I believe that we must all find out what the
EXACT procedure is for out councils, as it appears that some councils have
varying rules on how to report suspected abuse. Perhaps each council's
local governments account for the wide range of reporting processes that we
have seen here on the list. Find out FOR SURE what your council's
procedure is and, if the need arises, be sure to follow it to the letter.
Jack W. Weinmann email@example.com
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City