Safety and Safeguarding policy: Safeguarding the members

Our policy which explains how you must safeguard all Girlguiding members

Guidelines for keeping girls and young women safe

All Leaders, instructors and other adults, whether female or male, have an obligation to avoid creating distressing situations. The trust required between Leader or instructor and participant is fundamental to the learning process and therefore should not be jeopardised. For this reason those working with girls and young women must follow these guidelines.

Code of conduct

As a Girlguiding volunteer, you are expected to follow the Code of conduct.

Other adults present

Leaders, instructors and other supporters should avoid situations where they are alone with a girl or young woman. Ideally, the third person present should be a female adult who knows the girl or young woman. This precaution protects all parties by removing the feeling of threat from an insecure participant, and by providing a witness if an accusation of improper behaviour is made.

Physical contact

Physical contact between an individual and the Leader or instructor or other supporter should be avoided. There are instances when it is necessary, for example, to demonstrate a skill, but such contact should remain impersonal so there is no risk of it being misinterpreted.

Appropriate language

Care should be taken about what is said and the way it is said. Leaders, instructors and other supporters should avoid saying anything which could be interpreted as being aggressive, suggestive, or containing an innuendo.

Infatuation

Leaders, instructors and other supporters should discourage girls and young women from becoming infatuated with them. Situations where a participant develops a ‘crush’ on an adult need to be handled sensitively. While it is 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 or young woman is developing a crush, she/he should mention it to the participant’s Unit Leader or Commissioner, or other responsible adult Leader, so she/he does not have to deal with the situation alone.

Favouritism

Leaders, instructors and other supporters should avoid showing favouritism. There are times when an adult finds it easier to relate to one girl or young woman. 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.

Creating impressions

It is important that Leaders, instructors and other supporters do not create a false impression. Words and actions can be misunderstood, and care should be taken to avoid awkward situations. Should such a situation arise, it is essential to handle it with care and consideration to minimise embarrassment to Leaders, instructors and participants.

Support for Leaders

Girlguiding endeavours to cooperate fully with any external organisations which have a concern for young people’s safety. Training and support is provided for Leaders and Commissioners who may have to deal with concerns about the safety of girls and young women.

Help with safeguarding concerns

If you have any concern about a young member or a volunteer, or if you require any safeguarding advice please contact Girlguiding's Safeguarding team: [email protected] or 0207 834 6242

If you have an urgent safeguarding concern outside of office working hours (9-5 Mon-Fri) please call the emergency number on 07508 032997 

If you or an associated person (for exampe, a partner or individual that you reside with) becomes involved in any police or social services investigations, you must immediately notify your Commissioner.

Published: 19 May 2017