If you work with young people (12-25 year olds), you will often face ethical dilemmas: situations where you have to decide the right thing to do. The Code is a framework to help you think through those dilemmas. It won’t tell you exactly what to do, because each situation is different. But it will help you work out why you think something is right or wrong, and what you ought to do.
The Code is based on human rights: things that all Victorians—including young people—can expect to enjoy, such as your right to freedom of expression or right to take part in public life. The Code was first developed by YACVic in 2007, after consultation with the Victorian youth sector.
The Code includes a set of youth work principles and ethical practice responsibilities. It supports, but does not replace your legal responsibilities. Any person, group or organisation that works with young people can choose to use the Code.
Download the Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector (PDF)
A guide to the Code
To accompany the Guide to the Code, YACVic and OfY created eight info sheets that explain different ways the Code can be used:
Info sheet 1: How to include the Code in staff and volunteer recruitment and induction
Info sheet 2: How to include the Code in staff and volunteer supervision
Info sheet 3: How to include the Code in contracting, funding and partnership agreements
Info sheet 4: How to make the Code part of your organisation
Info sheet 5: How to get your organisation to commit to the Code
Info sheet 6: Legal responsibilities when working with young people
Info sheet 7: How to challenge unethical behaviour
Info sheet 8: How to make the Code relevant to young people
Code presentations and professional development
In 2013-14, YACVic and the Victorian Government Office for Youth (OfY) worked with the Victorian youth sector to further promote the Code and support ethical youth work. As part of this Code Project, two phases of research and consultation took place.
This research found that:
- the Code is a key document for the Victorian youth sector
- the Code helps create a collective identity and shared framework for practitioners who work with young people
- there was a need for companion resources to support how the Code is used by organisations and individuals.
In response, YACVic and OfY produced A guide to the Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector. This eight-page, A5 booklet explains the Code’s youth work practice responsibilities, issues around duty of care and legal obligations, and how to challenge unethical behaviour. The booklet folds to an A2 poster showing the full youth work practice responsibilities.