Along with guiding appropriate behavior, your Code of Conduct should include a clear description of the lines of communication and reporting procedures if a staff member or volunteer wants to discuss or report behavior that’s concerning or is contrary to your Code of Conduct. You should educate everyone that the expectation is that all inappropriate behavior must be brought forward according to your internal policies, and define the process for doing so, including a description of the actions your YSO will take to investigate and resolve the reported behavior.
[Link to Reporting]
See the table below for the basic elements of a Code of Conduct.
Your Code of Conduct: The Basics
- Mission Statement
- Ethical Principles and Standards – Code of Ethics
- (Definitions and) Guidelines for Interactions at Your Organization
- Appropriate, inappropriate, harmful behaviors
- Encouraged vs. prohibited behaviors and interactions
- Reporting obligations, procedures, and process
- Investigation and monitoring procedures
- Statement of Receipt and Agreement
- Signature Block
You should consider your Code of Conduct as a “living” document that you should evaluate and revise periodically. This helps to make sure that parts of the Code that are not working, are unclear, or are not working as anticipated, are revised accordingly, and that missing or unanticipated behaviors and circumstances are added. In all cases, you should ask for input from the “front line” staff and volunteers who are responsible for implementing the Code of Conduct and its requirements so their day-to-day experiences can help to inform the evaluation and revision. This helps with staff “buy-in” and a sense of ownership.
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