Good safeguarding behaviours

An overview of good safeguarding behaviours

What are good safeguarding behaviours?

As volunteers you must uphold Girlguiding’s values and promise and adhere to our code of conduct. This sets out the standards of behaviour expected of you. 

In addition, all volunteers need to display the following safeguarding behaviours which help ensure a safe space for all of us. 

  • Vigilance and understanding - take time to understand situations and be alert so that you notice when something is wrong. 
  • Awareness - be alert to your surroundings and ensure no one is unnecessarily left alone with a young member. An adult should never engage with a young member one-on-one, inside or outside a Girlguiding setting or for the purpose of undertaking Girlguiding activities. This includes online communications and, for example, contact outside of a Girlguiding setting.  
  • Early help - take action and provide support as soon as a problem emerges and before it gets any worse. 
  • Inclusion - safeguard every individual because everyone is equally important and valuable. Everyone involved in Girlguiding has a right to equal protection from all types of harm and abuse. Get more advice on including all. 
  • Resilience - support individuals to develop the knowledge, ability and the confidence to be actively involved in and responsible for their own safety and wellbeing and to cope with life’s challenges. 
  • Stability - develop on-going stable relationships of trust with all those you work with. This means you are more likely to notice if something is wrong. 
  • Respect - treat everyone with the expectation that they are responsible and accountable rather than not. 
  • Advocacy - help others to put forward their own point of view. 
  • Accountability - always respond if you're concerned; never assume someone else has or someone else will.  

Inappropriate conduct towards young members 

All leaders, instructors and other adults, whether women or men, have an obligation to safeguard young members. So anyone working with girls must follow these guidelines to avoid inappropriate behaviour:

  • Other adults present - volunteers should avoid situations where they're alone with a young member. Ideally, the third person present should be an adult woman who knows the girl. 
  • Physical contact - physical contact between a young member and the volunteer should be avoided. There are instances when it's necessary, for example, to demonstrate a skill, but such contact should remain impersonal so there's no risk of it being misinterpreted. 
  • Appropriate language - care should be taken about what's said and the way it's said. Volunteers should avoid saying anything which could be interpreted as being aggressive, suggestive, or containing an innuendo. 
  • Infatuation - volunteers should discourage girls from becoming infatuated with them. Situations where a participant develops a ‘crush’ on an adult need to be handled sensitively. While it's important not to encourage a participant with a crush, the adult should be aware of the damage caused by rejection. If an adult thinks a girl is developing a crush, they should mention it to the participant’s unit leader or commissioner, or other responsible adult leader, so they don't have to deal with the situation alone. 
  • Favouritism - volunteers should avoid showing favouritism. There are times when an adult finds it easier to relate to one particular girl. However, singling her out can create a feeling of resentment from others in the group, or she can become the object of their teasing. Similarly, unrealistic expectations can be created, and the motive misunderstood. 

What to do if you have a concern

If you have a concern about a young or adult member in Girlguiding you should read our a safe space pocket guide and follow the procedure set out in our process for receiving disclosures and our process for allegations and concerns.

You can also contact the HQ safeguarding team on:

Tel: 0207 834 6242 ext. 3037 (usual office hours)

Out of hours emergency phone: 07508 032997 (5pm - 10pm Monday - Friday and 9am - 10pm Saturday/Sunday). Please do not text the out of hours number as we are unable to access these messages.

Email: [email protected]

Please note don’t forget to let the HQ safeguarding team know ASAP if you call the police.