Scouts UK Continues to Settle Sexual Abuse Claims, Paying Out Over £6 Million While Accusations of Victim Silencing are ongoing

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Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

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TW: This article covers sensitive topics relating to abuse and violence.

With over 166 cases settled over the last 10 years, more claims are being brought by survivors of abuse within the Scouts, many of which allege to have been silenced by the Scouts UK organisation when trying to come forward. More claims are expected to be brought against the Scouts UK in the near future, with 68 reports of abuse already submitted on the recently established online platform "Yours In Scouting."

This initiative was introduced by a non-profit legal organisation to encourage people to share their stories of abuse experienced in the Scouts. With this increase in reporting of abuse in the Scouts we have considered below the case of Scout leader, Philip Perks who was accused of sexual assault in 2022.

Current investigation involving former Scout Leader, Philip Perks

An internal investigation is underway after two women accused former Scout leader, Phillip Perks of sexual assault in the 2000s, which they  previously tried to report on two occasions. The two survivors have claimed that the Scouts UK organisation were silencing them and protecting Perks, who’s death in 2022 has now been deemed as suicide. We commend the women’s bravery in coming forward with their statements and hope they are able to achieve the justice and closure they are looking for.

Phillip Perks, was from Dinas Powys, South Wales, and led the Scout unit in Penarth for 20 years, later receiving Scouting’s highest award in 2020. In March 2022, he was arrested and questioned following sexual assault allegations from two women, now in their 30s, who were 16 at the time of the alleged abuse. The two women claim that they reported the abuse twice to Scout leaders, once in the mid-2000s and then in 2016, but were silenced.

Despite these allegations in the past, Perks was kept on as leader by Scouts Cymru until his eventual arrest in March 2022,and suspension by the Scouts, but took his own life just days later. Both survivors say they feel they had been silenced and felt the Scouts were protecting Mr Perks. 

Days after his arrest and eventual questioning, Perks' body was found in the Penarth and District Scouts (PADSAC) storage unit on the 14th March 2022. Coroner reports stated that he took his own life, and toxicology showed no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of death. According to the BBC, his sister, Julie Anne Perks described her brothers as a “committed member of the scouts who just two years before his death received a prestigious award”.

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Victims Claim They Were Silenced

Both survivors claim they had repeatedly asked the Scouts to tell the former and current members about their allegations, but their incident wasn’t pushed forward for investigation. One of the women felt there was a “systematic attempt to silence us and get us to drop it” which made the women feel “small”. The second victim also stated: “It just feels like they're protecting him, or his reputation." Both women speak of how they were unable to receive the support they needed, as sadly their voices weren’t heard.

One of the survivors actually went on to confront Perks about the abuse, but he later was stated to have “denied it all”, and appeared to be unphased.

Scouts Stated to be Conducting Internal Investigations 

A Scouts Spokesman spoke to Sky News and stated that they are taking the information the women have given them very seriously. The Scouts have explained their “number one priority” is to keep young people safe in their care, and have insisted that the appropriate action will be taken if issues are raised against members. They have pledged to work with statutory agencies to share relevant information where they can, ensuring that their organisation is appropriately following safeguarding procedures.

The Scouts’ safeguarding policy is to protect the welfare of all children, young people and adults, and to safeguard them from neglect and from physical, sexual and emotional harm. The safeguarding policy offers guidance on how to report safeguarding allegations.

The two women are now pursuing a civil claim against the Scouts to help them gain a sense of justice, in the hope that children are better protected in the organisation in the future – and they join several others who are pursuing claims against the Scouts UK organisation.

Current Claims Against Scouts UK

As of June 2023, BBC File on 4 had contacted 13 law firms who specialise in child abuse claims.The data they have obtained shows over £6 million in compensation has been paid out in just 10 years relating to Scouts UK. From the data that was provided to the BBC, over 260 claims were taken on against Scouts UK, and 166 were settled, but the Yours In Scouting survivor website indicates there may be more claims brought against Scouts UK in the future.

Why is it Important to Report Sexual Abuse to the Police?

Coming forward and reporting any physical or sexual abuse you have experienced can be a difficult decision to make.

If you have experienced abuse in the Scouts or any other club or organisation as a child, we would advise you to report it to the police, no matter how long ago the abuse took place. While Scouts and other organisations have strict codes of practice and safeguarding policies in place, reporting abuse to the police will mean that your claims will be investigated independently and impartially.

Once reported, the police can then begin the criminal prosecution process and thoroughly investigate your case. If there is enough evidence, the police can then bring the perpetrator to justice so that they can receive a conviction for their crimes.

During the prosecution process, you will be offered support from the Child Protection Unit or Public Protection Unit.

The police will also provide you with access to Victim Support, which is a dedicated team who offer support and counselling in a safe environment.

How We Can Help if you’ve Experienced Abuse

Our specialist team of abuse solicitors are currently helping a number of sexual abuse survivors make a claim for compensation against perpetrators of abuse, or the organisation they worked within. Our child abuse solicitors are experts who understand this area of law and can make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible for you.

If you experienced abuse in childhood, we could help you take legal action so you can gain a sense of justice and closure. When you feel ready to talk, we’re here to listen – you can get in touch with our team for a confidential conversation to see how we could help. We’re proud partners of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), who have a free support line for survivors of childhood abuse. We know it is difficult to reach out and discuss these crimes, but rest assured, we’re here, and we are ready to listen and advise you on whether we can help.

Call our team today on: 0808 239 1287.


BBC. (2023, February 24). Scouts leader accused of child sexual abuse found dead days after arrest. Retrieved from

BBC. (2023, March 10). Scouts: Leaders accused of child sexual abuse allegations. Retrieved from

Civil Society. (2023, March 10). Scouts investigates accusations of silencing women over sexual abuse claims. Retrieved from

ITV News. (2023, February 24). Scouts leader accused of child sexual abuse found dead days after arrest. Retrieved from

News Sky. (2023, February 24). Women accuse Scouts of silencing them over sexual abuse claims against group leader. Retrieved from

Penarth Times. (2022, July). Penarth scout leader Phillip Perks' inquest concludes suicide. Retrieved from

Scouts. (n.d.). Safeguarding policy and procedures. Retrieved from

Yours in Scouting. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hywel Thomas Profile Picture

Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

With a background in Personal Injury Claims and Criminal Injury Compensation Claims, Hywel started specialising in Abuse Claims in 2001. Over the years, he has seen the area of abuse law evolve, presenting new challenges and learning opportunities. He has tackled cases against diverse groups, from local authorities to private schools, charities, medical organisations, and even individuals.

His passion for understanding psychological injuries led him to this area of Law.  Hywel's work extends beyond seeking financial compensation for his clients; he focuses on helping victims and survivors access support, making a real difference in their healing process. He values each client's unique motivations, ensuring they achieve what they desire through the legal process.

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