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Young People First

The Orange card is a code of practice for young people. It's the policy of The Scout Association to safeguard the welfare of all members by protecting them from neglect and from physical, sexual and emotional harm.

Guidance for Young Leaders

As a Young Leader you will get the chance to start experiencing what it is like to  be a Leader in Scouting, but you need to remember to keep yourself and others safe. Your Section Leaders are responsible for your safety and welfare during meetings and events, and should make sure that you are always appropriately supervised.  You should never be left alone with young people.
Remember the three principals of staying safe:

1. Set an example for others to follow.

2. Pass on any concerns you have about young people or adults.

3. Keep yourself safe and have fun.

What do I do if…?

If a young person tells you they are being abused, or they raise a concern about their safety or well-being, you should do the following:

1. Allow the young person to speak without interruption and accept what they say.

2. Tell them that you will offer support but that you must pass the information on to an adult leader who will be able to help them.

3. Immediately tell an adult leader.

4. Make a note of what was said and give the information to the same leader.

If you have a concern about a young person’s safety and well-being, or there is a concern or complaint about an adult or yourself, you should do the following:

1. Immediately tell an adult leader

2. Make a note of the facts as you know them and give information to the  same leader

Code of behaviour

  • Do keep to this code at all times.
  • Do treat everyone with respect.
  • Do set an example for others to follow. Do treat all young people equally – do not show favouritism.
  • Do run activities with more than one adult leader present and tell them where you are and what you are doing at all times.
  • Do make sure you have separate sleeping accommodation - do not share with young people or adults.
  • Do allow young people to talk about any concerns they may have and encourage everybody to talk about any attitudes or behaviours they do not like or feel comfortable with.
  • Do know your limits and stay safe – do not put yourself in unnecessary danger.
  • Do remember this code at sensitive moments, for example when helping someone who has a concern or may have been bullied or bereaved.
  • Do remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, even if you  mean well.
  • Do take concerns about the safety and well-being of young people seriously and pass them on to an adult leader immediately.


  • Do not allow abusive activities, for example initiation ceremonies or bullying
  • Do not take part in inappropriate behaviour or contact, whether physical, verbal or sexual; for example play fights, insults, or obscene gestures.
  • Do not form a romantic relationship with a younger youth member or adult leader.
  • Do not take part in physical contact games with young people, even if you are running them.
  • Do not engage with any inappropriate attention seeking behaviour, for example flirting and tantrums.
  • Do not make suggestive remarks or threats to a young person, even in fun.
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke on Scouting activities.
  • Do not use inappropriate language when writing, phoning, emailing or using the internet (including social media).
  • Do not let allegations, suspicions, or concerns about abuse go unreported.

Reporting a concern

You have the right to report any concerns about young people or adults in confidence and free from harassment.

If you are in any doubt about what to do, contact the Scout Suport Centre:

0845 300 1818 or email:

If you have a personal concern and would like to talk to someone in confidence you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111