Code of Conduct for working with children or young people
We should all be aware that behaviour in a worker's personal life (including online) may impact upon their work with children or young people. Therefore, all workers should ensure they do not to behave in a manner which would lead any reasonable person to question their suitability to work with children or act as a role model within the United Reformed Church. In order to achieve that goal. The following code of conduct provides a general guide of how to behave when working with children and young people:
● Do treat all people with dignity and respect.
● Don't abuse the power and responsibility of your role. Don’t belittle, scapegoat, put down, or ridicule a child or young person (even in 'fun') and don't use language or behaviour with sexual connotations (e.g. flirting or innuendo).
● Do act inclusively, seeking to make everyone feel welcome and valued.
● Don't exclude other children or workers from conversations and activities unless there is a good reason.
● Do treat people with equal care and concern.
● Don't show favouritism (e.g. in selection for activities, in giving rewards, etc) or encourage excessive attention from a particular child (e.g. gifts).
● Do encourage everyone to follow any behaviour agreement or ground rules and apply sanctions consistently.
● Don't threaten or use sanctions which have not been agreed, or make empty threats.
● Do refer to a more senior worker if a child does not respond to your instructions despite encouragement and warning of possible consequences.
● Don’t feel you have to deal with every problem on your own.
● Do seek to diffuse aggressive or threatening behaviour without the use of physical contact.
● Don't use physical restraint except as a last resort to prevent injury. This should use minimum force.
● Do relate to children in public. If a child wants to talk one-to-one about an issue, tell another worker and find somewhere quieter, but still public, to talk.
● Don't spend time alone with children out of sight of other people.
● Do make sure that any electronic communication is done with parental consent and is transparent, accountable, recorded and adheres to safeguarding policies.
● Don't keep communication with children secret, while still respecting appropriate confidences.
● Do have a designated photographer to take, store and share photos of your group’s activities, in line with URC good practice guidelines.
● Don’t take photos or videos without consent, store them in a safe place designated by the church and only use them in the ways agreed, in line with URC good practice guidelines.
● Do use physical contact wisely; it should be:
o in public.
o appropriate to the situation and to the age, gender and culture of the child.
o in response to the needs of the child, not the adult.
o respectful of the child's privacy, feelings and dignity.
● Don't use physical contact which could be misconstrued as aggressive (e.g. rough games) or sexual.
● Do respect children's privacy.
● Don't assume that children should tell you anything you ask just because you are a worker.
● Do respect the right of children to wash, change and use the toilet in private
● Don’t walk in unnecessarily or unannounced.
● Do listen to children and tell the church Safeguarding Officer if you have any concerns about a child's actual or suspected abuse.
● Don't promise to keep something secret if it is about a child being harmed or at risk of harm, but only tell those who need to know.
● Do respect and promote the rights of children to make their own decisions and choices.
● Don’t work in ways that put your needs and interests before those of the children you work with.
● Do encourage respect for difference, diversity, beliefs and culture.
● Don’t discriminate or leave discrimination or bullying unchallenged.
I agree not to behave in a manner which would lead any reasonable person to question their suitability to work with children or act as a role model within the United Reformed Church.
on behalf of St. Columba’s United Reformed Church
Name of worker: