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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Police were not called in after sexual harassment claims, admits youth charity

This news post is about 1 year old

Scottish Youth Parliament insists it dealt with the matter in accordance with its child protection policy

A Scottish youth charity has admitted that it did not contact police when serious sex abuse claims were made known to it.

The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has confirmed that allegations about the conduct of its then chair Jordan Linden were made known to chief executive Ben McKendrick (below) in 2016.

Ben McKendrick

SYP confirmed to TFN it investigated the claims but found them unsubstantiated so did not inform the police.

Claims were made by five young men – one just 14 at the time - that Linden, who stood down as SYP chair in 2016, had sexually harassed them. One alleges that an offence took place during an overnight stay at an SYP event.

After leaving SYP, Linden, a member of the SNP, went onto have a career in politics.

At 27, he became leader of North Lanarkshire Council in May this year, but was forced to resign after the Sunday Mail revealed a teenager claimed the then depute council leader (below) had groped and sexually assaulted him at a party after Gay Pride in Dundee on 21 September, 2019.

Jordan Linden

The Sunday Mail has also spoken to young men who claim to have been subjected to abuse while Linden was at SYP.

It says that in 2016 the SYP launched an internal investigation when allegations about Linden’s conduct were reported to the chief executive Ben McKendrick.

The tabloid says this investigation was carried out by a “private law firm”.

Alleged victims want to know why the allegations were not referred to the police as they involved safeguarding issues around children.

A spokesperson for SYP confirmed to TFN that the police were not involved, but insisted the matter had been dealt with correctly.

The spokesperson said: “SYP has robust policies in place to prevent harassment in any form and works closely with its members to investigate any concerns thoroughly and promptly. When these allegations were made in 2016, a comprehensive investigation was conducted in accordance with SYP’s child protection policy at the time. As no claims were found to be substantiated at the time, police were not contacted.     

“We take all allegations very seriously and continuously review procedure and policies, referring to the relevant authorities whenever necessary.”   

Police were subsequently involved, but not through SYP, and an investigation found no criminality.



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Lok Yue
about 1 year ago

If an accusation of criminality has been made, its investigation is in the province of the Police, not the charity or a 'private law firm