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Respecting Children and Young People

The following bullet points set out examples of the kind of statements that might be included in a code of behaviour for workers.

In addition to this list of bullet points, specific guidance needs to be established with respect to workers avoiding instances when they are alone with children and young people; appropriate and inappropriate physical contact with children and young people; abuse of trust; and electronic communication. These are dealt with in separate articles in this section.
  • Treat all children and young people with respect and dignity

  • Use age appropriate language and tone of voice. Be aware of your own body language and the effect you are having on the individual child or young person

  • Listen well to children and young people. Be careful not to assume you know what a child or young person is thinking or feeling. Listen to what is spoken and how it is said. At the same time, observe the body language to better understand what is being said

  • Do not engage in any of the following:

    • invading the privacy of children or young people when they are using the toilet or showering

    • rough games involving physical contact between a leader and a child or young person

    • sexually provocative games

    • making sexually suggestive comments about or to a child or young person, even in ‘fun'

    • scapegoating, belittling, ridiculing, or rejecting a child or young person.

  • When it is necessary to control and discipline children and young people, this should be done without using physical punishment. (A situation may, however, arise where a child or young person needs to be restrained in order to protect them or a third person.)

  • Make sure another adult is present if, for example, a young child has soiled their underclothes and needs to be thoroughly washed. If possible, the child’s own parent or carer should be called in to carry out such a task.

  • Do not respond to, or encourage, excessive attention-seeking that is overtly sexual or physical in nature.

  • Workers should not normally plan to be alone with children and young people

This should be a key guiding principle for good practice. Click here for further information on how this should be implemented in practice
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