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Codes of ethics?

Now this interesting. And you might want to get involved. A code of ethics for youth workers. A good idea or not? So there is a debate going on and you are welcome to get involved. The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition is hosting a debate from its website, so go have a look and go have your say if you wish.

I have grabbed a few quotes from that site to give you some idea about the debate:


Georgie Ferrari
Peak representative
‘A Code of Ethics offers an opportunity for an industry or sector to articulate the elements of practice that define why the work they do is valuable and unique. It also attempts to set a benchmark for the quality ways of working that we should aim for.’

Howard Sercombe

‘We accept that youth work is a community of practice in which we participate, not just something of our own invention, and that our practice, if it is to be called youth work, is accountable to that community.’

Matt Pearse

‘The code of ethics helps us to cut through this sea of “anonymous workers with youth”. When I’m working with a Social Worker and a Physiologist with a young person, I know what my role is, and using the code of ethics, I can let the other workers know what I will and won’t do, working with this young person. We’re all “Workers with Youth” but a code of ethics helps me efficiently define my ideology and purpose as a “Youth Worker”.’


Dean Williamson
Peak representative
‘I believe that workers/people will undertake unethical practice in the same amount under a Code of Ethics (and I think it’s great that we may be able to ‘kick them out’), but that we should be striving for aspirational youth workers who have a solid grounding in ethical and decision-making systems. A Code of Ethics may help reinforce this, but it is not the solution…’

Peter Slattery

‘We each know, in all our relationships, what is okay and what is not okay to do. Yet our behaviour is rarely determined by a set of stated principles. It is more often governed by a set of unspoken and usually undiscussed principles. A code of conduct if you like. And we all know what this is. It just isn’t recorded anywhere.’

Suzi Quixley
‘Codes of ethics are a mirage. They provide an illusion of ethical practice, which is all too often disappointed. Further, real harm is done by the loss of ethical growth which has typically followed the adoption of codified ethics in other community services occupations.’

Yes, I am one of those who wrote something. It is an important issue…at least, ‘ethics’ is…so if you would like to read more, check out ‘THE GREAT DEBATE.’

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