Scouts investigates accusations of ‘silencing’ women over sexual abuse claims

27 Feb 2023 News


An internal investigation is underway at the Scouts, after two women who say they were sexually abused by their Scout leader when they were teenagers accused the charity of “silencing” them, according to the PA news agency.

Scout leader Phillip Perks was arrested and questioned by police in March 2022 about claims of sexual abuse but was found dead days later. 

The charity’s Welsh branch, Scouts Cymru, kept Perks on until his suspension, days before he died.

Two women claim he was allowed to keep his position for around seven years after they told a Scout commissioner about their allegations, PA news agency reported.

Perks led a scout unit in Penarth for 20 years and received Scouting’s highest award in 2020. An inquest into his death is yet to be held but it is believed he took his own life.

The women claim the abuse took place when they were teenagers and Scout members, according to the PA news agency. They say they reported the abuse to other Scout leaders including a commissioner at the charity in the mid-2000s and again in 2016.

It is understood the commissioner denies this. He has since been suspended from his position and is the subject of an internal investigation.

South Wales Police has confirmed it had been investigating Perks on suspicion of sexual assault by touching.

Charity: ‘We will take appropriate action’

A Scouts spokesman told Sky News: "The safety of young people in our care is our number one priority.

"We are aware of this case and are in communication with the two young women who have shared their story.

"We are taking the information they've given us very seriously.

"This is a complex and detailed case and we have worked with the police on the issues raised, particularly around the issue of other potential victims.

"We are progressing our own internal investigations and we aim to have that concluded by March 2023. At that point we will make sure that we share with the two young women at the heart of this case with our conclusions.

"If wrongdoing can be established by those who volunteer with us, then we will take appropriate action and if necessary, permanently exclude them from membership of the Scouts.

"Our number one priority remains the safety of young people in our care.

"We work together with statutory agencies and other parties to share relevant information to ensure the safeguarding of young people.

"Everyone at Scouts works to a strict code of practice to put young people first."

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.


More on