The Boy Scouts of America is committed to providing support and care to those adults who have been affected by sexual abuse years ago, when they were Scouts. To do this, the National Council has established ScoutHelp℠, a help line that can be accessed by calling a toll-free number (855-295-1531) or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please encourage any Scout, former Scout, or Scout family member who suffered past abuse by a Scout leader or adult volunteer to contact ScoutHelp by calling the toll-free number or by sending an email.
All callers will be treated with sensitivity and respectful listening. The calls will be received by a victim assistance coordinator who will assist by providing victims of past sexual abuse within Scouting with:
Support and encouragement for past abuse
Assistance in finding counseling or other resources near where they live
An explanation of how the BSA is able to assist them with the costs of counseling
Help in reporting past abuse to the authorities or answering questions regarding the reporting process in general
General information concerning the status of the abuser, such as whether the person has an Ineligible Volunteer File, acknowledgement (only) of previous allegations, whether law enforcement was notified, and whether the individual is still in Scouting
The BSA’s current Youth Protection program, and how the BSA has strengthened its protection of youth
The victim assistance coordinator cannot:
Provide clinical therapy to a caller.
Address current abuse issues or matters. Current allegations of abuse should be addressed on a local level to initiate immediate response, including the mandatory reporting to law enforcement and/or child and family services. This help line is intended to provide assistance to those adults who might have suffered abuse in Scouting years ago, when they were youth.
Make the report to law enforcement on behalf of the caller.
Assist with obtaining financial support for anything other than counseling.
Provide detailed information about the alleged abuser, such as the individual’s current whereabouts, names of other victims, or the outcome of any legal matters.
Provide copies of IV files.
In connection with responding to these calls, you might receive a request for historical information, such as troop rosters, from a victim assistant coordinator. Such requests do not indicate that legal action has been initiated. In the event that legal action involving your council is pending, you will be advised by someone in the Legal Department.
By addressing these calls in a professional and respectful manner, we will begin to regain the trust that has been placed in the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, we will all need to work together to continually strengthen and improve the child protection policies of the BSA to keep all Scouts safe.
If you need additional information or have questions,
please contact Heidi Steppe at heidi.steppe@Scouting.org or 972-580-2007.