Solicitor and former scout Lee Dawkins reports on the growing number of calls to our Abuse Helpline from people who have been abused by scout leaders.
As a former scout myself I appreciate how valuable and rewarding membership of The Scout Association can be. I look back fondly on my time, first as a cub and subsequently as a scout in South London. However, as with so many institutions we admire, it only takes the acts of a few depraved individuals to tarnish the reputation of an entire organisation.
I have been shocked and deeply saddened by the number of calls our specialist abuse helpline has received in the past 12 months from former scouts around the country who have been the victims of sex abuse. The Scout Association has been the focus of media scrutiny and we have recently seen a number of high profile scout leader criminal prosecutions.
One such prosecution involved Warwickshire scout leader Anthony Ball, who was convicted last year of sex abuse that spanned an 18 year period. Ball was given a seven-year extended sentence (a four year prison term followed by a three-year extension to the time he will be on licence after his release) after pleading guilty to four charges of indecent assault, three charges of sexual assault, and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
This senior scout leader was a sexual predator. He used his position in the scouting movement to prey on vulnerable young boys, some of whom he plied with alcohol in order to take advantage. These boys had been trusted to his care by their parents who believed their sons would be safe in the custody of the Scouts Association. Ball let them all down, causing incalculable emotional trauma to his victims and damaging the reputation of an organisation that otherwise does so much good for young people. Ball remained in denial throughout his trial. He maintained that he had no sexual interest in young boys; a claim that the judge found impossible to believe. He was described in court as a dangerous offender who posed a risk of committing further offences and causing serious harm.
Sadly, we expect other instances of systematic sex abuse within the scout movement to come to light as people find it a little easier to confront and come to terms with historic sex abuse in this country. We have been advising several men who were abused by Ball and other scout leaders while members of the organisation, so if you, or someone close to you, is also a victim of scout sex abuse and would like to speak to a lawyer in confidence then either give us a call or drop us an email.
We understand what you are going through and will use our experience and specialist knowledge in this area to help you gain the justice you deserve.
You can call our specialist Abuse Helpline on 0808 139 1606. All calls are confidential and initial legal guidance is completely free of charge. We deal with scout sex abuse claims on a No Win – No Fee basis and will be happy to provide you with further details.
Alternatively you can email myself at [email protected]