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The Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector
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 of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector (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.
A guide to the Code
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 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 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 unfolds into a poster showing the full youth work practice responsibilities.
To accompany the guide to the Code, YACVic and OfY created eight info sheets that explain different ways the Code can be used. You can download the Code infosheets 1 to 8 here.
If you're a YACVic member, you can order up to 5 printed copies of the Code poster and 2 printed copies of the Code book to be mailed to you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
We run Code training regularly at YACVic HQ and online. Check out our events page for upcoming dates.
The interactive training sessions include some introductory theory and guidance for using the Code in your practice. There is lots of opportunity for discussion and reflective practice as well as strategies for developing ethical practice in your role/organisation. Find out more about training on our Training and Support page.
Topics we cover
- Why is a Code of Ethical Practice so important for the youth sector?
- What are ethics anyway?
- Background to the Code
- Youth work principles
- Youth work practice responsibilities
- How do I deal with an ethical dilemma at work?
If you wish to chat with us about training or implementing the Code of Ethical Practice in your organisation, please contact Sam Champion, Participation and Development Manager, via If you wish to chat with us about training or running your own youth participation initiatives, at email@example.com