Code of Conduct – Victoria and Tasmania, Australia – 2021 edition

Workers’ Code of Conduct

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4.12.                         “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5.22.

Children (Under 18) are a vital part of our fellowship; all Workers are responsible for promoting their safety, protection and well-being.

I will:

  • Adhere to the Child-Safe Policy and this Code of Conduct at all times.
  • Be a positive role model to children and follow accepted guidelines relating to physical contact.
  • Set clear boundaries about appropriate behaviour between children and myself and respect a child’s boundaries and personal space.
  • Listen and respond appropriately to the views and concerns of children.
  • Be transparent in my actions and whereabouts in relation to contact with children.
  • Apply the “rule of two” – avoid spending time alone with children, ensuring parents know and support this boundary, and have educated their children about it.
  • Wear publicly appropriate clothes in common areas during visits with families.
  • Address inappropriate behaviour towards children.
  • Ask for help if I am uncertain about child safety, or this Code of Conduct, or believe I have breached this Code.
  • Report suspected child abuse and neglect to the authorities as soon as reasonably practicable.

I will not:

  • Engage in behaviour or communication that causes children to feel uncomfortable, afraid or disempowered.
  • Use language that is inappropriate, offensive, harassing, abusive, or sexually suggestive or provocative when speaking around children.
  • Use any computer, mobile phone, video, or camera to exploit or harass children.
  • Do things for children of a personal nature that they can do for themselves, such as assisting with toileting.
  • Hit or physically assault children. This includes refraining from physical punishment or engaging in discipline.
  • Display favouritism, develop inappropriate or sexual relationships, or indulge in any form of sexual contact with children.
  • Engage in the grooming of children and/or families.
  • Rely on my position or my reputation and that of the fellowship to protect me.
  • Minimise or cover up a suspicion or allegation of abuse.
  • Investigate a suspicion or allegation of abuse by questioning a child or individuals involved but rather defer the matter to authorities.
  • Dismiss a child’s concerns or discourage disclosure.
  • Allow any child to enter a bedroom where I am staying in the company of myself and/or co-worker.

Some examples of appropriate and/or acceptable behaviour:

  • Handshakes, pats on the shoulder or back and shoulder-to-shoulder hugs.
  • Holding hands while walking with small children.
  • Sitting beside small children.
  • Having discussions one-on-one with older children in publicly accessible areas.
  • Encouraging children to respect personal spaces, i.e., knock on doors before entering.

Some examples of inappropriate and/or unacceptable behaviour:

  • Developing intimate or special relationships with children.
  • Advising children to keep communications or interactions secret.
  • Holding a small child on the lap except in the presence of an adult member of the family. Lifting or placing a school age or older child on your lap.
  • Wrestling, tickling, piggy-back rides or massaging.
  • Remarks that relate to sexual attractiveness or development.
  • Showing physical displays of affection in isolated areas of the premises such as bedrooms, bathrooms, private areas of the home or cars.
  • Sharing a bedroom with a child.
  • Inappropriate or lengthy hugs or kisses on the mouth.
  • Touching buttocks, genital areas, chest, knees, thighs, or legs.

Some examples of environments where additional caution should be used:

  • Camping environment
  • Convention grounds
  • Swimming areas
  • Physical sporting events
  • Workers staying with families without a co-worker.

In Conclusion:

  • I recognise that children have the right to feel safe at all times.
  • I recognise that child abuse has ongoing impacts and that the first step in healing for survivors starts with the telling of their experience.
  • Should a child disclose abuse to me I will respond with compassion and care. I will not make promises to the child I cannot keep e.g., in relation to a child asking to keep matters confidential. Instead, I will advise the child, “I will do everything I can to keep you safe.”
  • I will do all I can to make the child feel heard and supported.
  • I will complete mandatory reporting as required.

Mandatory Reporting of CSA in Victoria.

In Victoria, all adults are mandatory reporters.

What must be reported:

A reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed in Victoria against a child under the age of 16 years by another person of or over the age of 18 years. Any adult must disclose that information to a police officer as soon as it is practicable to do so, unless the person has a reasonable excuse for not doing so. Failure to disclose the information to police is a criminal offence.

Victoria and Tasmania Police Contact Numbers:
000 for emergency cases

131 444 for less urgent cases

Or visit a Police station in person.

Do not distribute this document without permission.

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