Safeguarding our 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 young member. Ideally, the third person present should be a female adult who knows the girl. This 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 a young member 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's 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 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 or young woman is developing a crush, they should mention it to the participant’s unit leader or commissioner, or other responsible adult leader, so they do 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 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.
  • Creating impressions - It's 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 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri) please call the out of hours number on 07508 032997. The out of hours phone line is for emergencies only and is in operation 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.

You must inform your commissioner or the Safeguarding team of any ongoing or past investigation(s) by the Police, Social Services, an employer or other organisation you volunteer for, which relates to children or vulnerable adults, involving yourself or any person you have a significant relationship with, for example, someone you live with, immediate family members or partners.