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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)

pdf  The Code of Ethical Practice (994.28 kB)
document  The Code of Ethical Practice - A first step for the Victorian youth sector (Word) (48.92 kB)

 A guide to the Code

YACVic code poster FINAL August 2016-01

pdf  Code poster updated 2016 (1.7 MB)

If you are a YACVic member, you can order up to 5 copies to be posted to you free by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.If you’d like up to 10 copies, or you are not a member, you can either collect them from the YACVic office or send us a large (minimum size 25cm x 35cm), self-addressed, pre-paid envelope.

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

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 1 (281.65 kB)

document  Code infosheet 1 recruitment induction (23.85 kB)

Info sheet 2: How to include the Code in staff and volunteer supervision

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 2 (312.61 kB)

document  Code infosheet 2 Supervision (24.21 kB)

Info sheet 3: How to include the Code in contracting, funding and partnership agreements 

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 3 (250.66 kB)

document  Code infosheet 3 Contracting Funding (22.96 kB)

Info sheet 4: How to make the Code part of your organisation

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 4 (394.12 kB)

document  Code infosheet 4 Part of organisation (28.58 kB)

Info sheet 5: How to get your organisation to commit to the Code

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 5 (328.84 kB)

document  Code infosheet 5 Commit to the Code (21.86 kB)

 Info sheet 6: Legal responsibilities when working with young people

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 6 (328.51 kB)

document  Code Infosheet 6 Legal responsibilities (32.38 kB)

Info sheet 7: How to challenge unethical behaviour

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 7 (241.22 kB)

document  Code infosheet 7 Unethical behaviour (21.16 kB)

Info sheet 8: How to make the Code relevant to young people

pdf  YACVic Code Infosheet 8 (238.99 kB)

document  Code infosheet 8 Young people (22.73 kB)

Code presentations and professional development

YACVic offers free presentations and professional development workshops about the Code to groups and organisations. Priority is given to YACVic members. Please contact us to find out more.


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.

pdf  YACVic Code consultation phase 1 (601.88 kB)
pdf  YACVic Code consultation phase 2 (513.44 kB)

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. 

YACVic has a number of partner agencies. For more information click on the logos below.

  • ViCSRC-logo-small-for-web
  • KYC-logo small-for-web
  • Youth Workers' Association logo
  • YRIPP logo
  • HEYGrants logo 1