Child Protection Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct is for ALWS personnel who have not signed the ALWS Code of Conduct. All aspects of this Child Protection Code of Conduct are included in the ALWS Code of Conduct.

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) commits itself to creating and maintaining an environment which promotes its core values and prevents abuse and sexual exploitation. ALWS employees, volunteers, board members and contractors are expected to contribute to building a harmonious workplace based on team spirit, mutual respect and understanding. All employees and volunteers are expected to uphold the dignity of those we serve by ensuring that their personal and professional conduct is of the highest standard at all times. ALWS strongly condemns all kinds of abuse and sexual exploitation. Abuse occurs when adults or other children hurt children or young people under the age of 18, either physically or in some other way.

ALWS regards children as those who are under the age of 18, in accordance with the AusAID Child Protection Policy and LCA Child Safe Policy.

Abuse comes in many forms:
Emotional abuse refers to a parent or caregiver’s inappropriate verbal or symbolic acts toward a child or a pattern of failure over time to provide a child with adequate non-physical nurture and emotional availability It may include a repeated rejection or belittling of a child, or the making of threats, which has the intent to scare and frighten. It can also result from excessive demands that place expectations on a child beyond their capacity, or by witnessing forms of violence, including domestic violence.

Neglect the failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and well-being. In a development or emergency context, the risk of this form of abuse can also evident when someone uses their position to withhold assistance in order to gain favours or advantage.

Physical abuse includes actions that cause harm and injury to a child. Physically abusive behaviour includes shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, kicking, biting, burning, strangling and poisoning. This form of abuse may be intentional, the indirect consequence of physical punishment or aggression, or arise from neglect where the child is exposed to physically dangerous and life-threatening situations.

Sexual abuse occurs if a child is pressured or forced to take part in any kind of sexual activity, whether or not the child is aware of, or consents to, what is happening. It is the use of a child for sexual gratification by an adult or significantly older child or adolescent. Sexually abusive behaviours can include fondling genitals, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or any other object, fondling breasts, voyeurism, exhibitionism and exposing the child to, or involving the child in, pornography. Sexual abuse may involve siblings or other family members, or persons outside the family.

Exploitation refers to one or more of the following:

  • committing or coercing another person to commit acts of abuse against a child.
  • possessing, controlling, producing, distributing, obtaining or transmitting child exploitation material (material that explicitly or implicitly depicts a child as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse or material that represents a child who is engaged in, or appears to be engaged in a sexual pose or activity, or is in the presence of a person who is in engaged in, or appears to be engaged in, a sexual pose or activity)
  • committing or coercing another person to commit an act of grooming (behaviour that makes it easier for an offender to procure a child for sexual activity), including online grooming.
  • child labour – work that children should not be doing because they are too young to work, or because it is dangerous or otherwise unsuitable for them.


These are guidelines to guide how adults and students conduct themselves during their participation in ALWS activities. In life threatening or emergency situations, it is expected that people’s safety and well-being will take the highest priority and guide the actions that people take.

I ____________________________ [insert name], acknowledge that I have read and understood ALWS’s Child Protection Reporting Procedure, and agree that in the course of my association with ALWS, I must:

  • not access or use information about children or their families for purposes outside of what I have been specifically requested to do by ALWS
  • treat children with respect regardless of their gender, race, colour, language, nationality, religion, political or other beliefs, family background, economic status, physical or mental health, criminal background, or opinions, or those of their family members
  • not use language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate
  • not engage children under the age of 18 in any form of sexual intercourse or sexual activity, including paying for sexual services or acts
  • wherever possible, ensure that another adult is present when working in the proximity of children
  • not invite unaccompanied children into my home, unless they are at immediate risk of injury or in physical danger
  • not sleep close to unsupervised children unless absolutely necessary, in which case I must obtain my supervisor’s permission, and ensure that another adult is present if possible
  • use any computers, mobile phones, video cameras, cameras or social media appropriately, and never to exploit or harass children or access child exploitation material through any medium
  • not meet with or communicate with (including by email, phone, social media etc) any child associated with ALWS’ work outside of what is required of me for my work with ALWS
  • not use physical punishment on children
  • not hire children for domestic or other labour which is inappropriate given their age and developmental stage, which interferes with their time available for education and recreational activities, or which places them at significant risk of injury
  • comply with all relevant Australian and local legislation, including labour laws in relation to child labour
  • immediately report concerns or allegations of child exploitation and abuse and policy non-compliance in accordance with appropriate procedures (see Child Protection Reporting Procedure)
  • immediately disclose all charges, convictions and other outcomes of an offence, which occurred before or occurs during my association with ALWS that relate to child exploitation and abuse.
  • ensure respectful and appropriate standards when capturing and using children’s images and stories by
  • portraying children in a dignified and respectful manner;
  • never posing children in ways that could be seen as sexually suggestive, vulnerable or submissive;
  • ensuring children are adequately clothed in images;
  • composing photos of children in a context that properly represents the facts and within their local community setting; and
  • not disclosing detailed personal information about the child with published images or stories;
  • obtaining informed consent of a child and their parent or guardian for the taking and use of their images and stories; disclosing, when seeking consent, details as to how and where the image will be used;
  • assessing and endeavoring to comply with local conditions or restrictions for reproducing personal images before photographing or filming a child;
  • not revealing identifying information in file labels, meta data or text descriptions when sending images or stories electronically or
    publishing images in any form;
  • screening all photographs for their suitability and ensuring all
    images that are considered inappropriate are destroyed.

I have carefully read the ALWS Child Protection Code of Conduct and Reporting Procedure and discussed its contents with my colleagues in order to understand it clearly. I must comply with the values of ALWS and I am aware that ALWS expects me to uphold at all times the standards of behaviour described in the Code of Conduct above. I also understand that disciplinary measures and legal steps will be taken in case of non-compliance.


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