Charitable Status Registration Number: XR77412

Code of Practice

Today, more than ever, we must recognise the important contribution made by young people in our communities. Greater emphasis is being placed on the choices of programmes for young people and the environments in which these are carried out. This code of practice is a statement by the Derry Search Youth Group, that we acknowledge the importance of young people in the community and that we intend to provide the widest possible range of CARE in the safest possible environment.

This document is a proposed basis for discussion among those responsible for youth provision for all young people, parents, families, schools and communities that find themselves directly or indirectly involved in the work of Search. This Code will examine the aims and objectives of Derry Search Youth Group, under three specific headings. 1. Provision 2. Protection 3. Participation. 1. Provision

1.1 The primary aim of Search is to create time to understand the social, physical, and intellectual needs of young people. With an ultimate goal to facilitate there spiritual needs by a closer relationship with god, which we believe can enhance their social welfare and development.

We will strive to achieve this by:-

A: Providing time to develop a greater understanding of their physiological needs, and offering a program of physical activities both indoor and outdoor on a regular basis.

B: Providing a safe place to meet and share on a weekly basis, and also to provide a safe venue for residential weekends.

C: Offering a channel of love, care and belonging to all young people with out bias or prejudice in the hope of developing an increasing self esteem.

D: Emphasising the spiritual need of personal development as intrinsic element of the community of which we live. A major component of this will be the on going structure of our spiritual residential retreat weekends and weekly meeting, erecting new experiences with an ever increasing interest in promoting cross community initiative.

E: Developing and promoting a comprehensive health education program for search to create a greater awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse, and also the risks attached to promiscuous sexual activities.

F: Providing a forum for the discussion of social issues.

G: Promoting community development, awareness and activities to create a greater enhancement of family life.

H: Offering support to develop communicative skills, drama skills, music skills and teaching skills, leading to a greater self-actualisation of the young people.

I: Insuring that all members of the leaders group are trained to achieve these aims.

1.2 Other aims of Search include:- A: Providing programs to encourage all young people in developing relationships.

B: Offering programs which can improve the quality of life of all who encounter Search in any manner such as:- • Families • Young People • Communities • Parishes • Schools

2: Protection

2.1: One the natural consequences of youth work are that we become role models either intentionally or unintentionally to a proportion of young people that we come in contact with. It is vital, therefore, that we accept this serious responsibility and all its implications. It is difficult to be continually aware of the influence, we exert over some young people. Never the less we must consistently strive towards maintaining a set of standards for ourselves which will minimise the possibility of “Perceived inappropriate behaviour” and therefore promote Search as a safe and healthy environment for all young people who join us.

2.2 As a team of facilitators there are certain guidelines, which we can adopt in order to carry out our responsibilities in a clear manner.

2.3: Trust and confidentiality Two of the most important basic elements in all good relationships is trust and confidentiality and indeed the relationship between Search leaders and a young person is no different. It is essential therefore, that we create an atmosphere of trust in Search, as individual workers and as part of a team if we hope to work with young people in an open and honest manner. Needless to say, few young people, if any, will communicate with us if what they say or feel is revealed to or discussed with others unnecessarily. There are situations when we cannot guarantee confidentiality because of legal implications e.g. Disclosures of abuse. When a young person talk to us on a personal level it is essential that we respect the trust they have put on us, no matter how insignificant we may feel the subject matter to be.

2.4 As leaders/Facilitators who are committed to the same objectives, it is also necessary that we operate in an atmosphere of openness and trust with each other. Anything less that than less is neither justifiable nor acceptable. 2.5 Personal Behaviour Within the realms of personal behaviour lay the dangers of misperception and misinterpretation. It is impossible to list all the situations where misinterpretation might recur, but what is necessary to create awareness in all members of the need to be constantly assessing the consequences of our behaviour.

2.6 While personal behaviour can sometimes be seen as ambiguous there are aspects of behaviour which are entirely wrong. These can be listed under different headings.

2.7 Physical The UN convention on the rights of children 1993, article 19, states that “Children have the right to be protected from violence and harmful treatment. Those looking after them must give them proper care. “ Acting aggressively to, or mishandling any young person is totally unacceptable. It may be necessary to use minimum force to prevent a young person causing injury to himself/herself or others but it should only be used as a restraining measure.

2.8 “Children must be kept safe from harm including pornography and inducement to sexual activity. They must be given proper care by those looking after them.” (U.N. Convention article 34) Affectionate physical contact is a normal part of family life and nature. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between affectionate and sexually abusive behaviour. But when the boundary is crossed from the demonstration of affection to sexual stimulation or exploration, this becomes sexual abuse. The protection of young people in our care from sexual abuse is of paramount importance and, if violated, will incur full legal investigation (By law a young person under the age of 17 years cannot give true consent to sexual activity).

2.9 Physical relationships between any member of leaders group and young person in Search must be also regarded as unprofessional and unacceptable.

2.10 Verbal Bad language, dirty jokes/stories or inappropriate talk directed at or in the presence of young people must be regarded as unacceptable. We must always promote and encourage Christian values and ideals as an important part of our lives.

3: Participation

3.1 Derry Search Youth Group recognises, “The right of the young person to express freely in all matters affecting them, the view of the young person being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.” (U.N. convention, article 12) Accordingly we should encourage and support a forum where by the young people would be able to express their views and opinions in the routine activities of Search.

3.2 Older members of Derry Search Youth Group should always be encouraged to express open constructive criticism of the Search program. Avenues should be left open to persuade such young people with constructive interests to join a leader support/ sub committee group.

Conclusion: 'The old question "Would l let my own children become a member of Search?" must still apply. Our united responsibility is that we have to be able to answer "yes" to that question. The primary concern of Search must always be the young people. All programmes should stem from the needs of these young people. We must strive for the highest standards, and incorporate into our work a level of professionalism, which will generate an atmosphere of confidence and safety for the young people in Search, and also one of reassurance for their parents.


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