Abuse Prevention Code of Conduct Flashcards: “Non-Negotiables” to Prevent Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a huge threat facing youth-serving organizations. The first step in fighting against this threat is to implement a Code of Conduct that includes specific “non-negotiables” to prevent sexual abuse. This will communicate that there is zero tolerance for any sexual misconduct and clearly outline expectations for all staff, volunteers, parents/guardians and community members. But having a Code of Conduct isn’t enough. Consistently having dialogue and understanding how these “non-negotiables” are practiced day-to-day is what will make the difference.

Description of Activity
These flashcards are a micro-learning tool that can be incorporated at staff/team meetings. They can be used in pairs, small groups, and large groups to discuss team members’ understanding of child protection “non-negotiables” and how they apply in their daily context. The questions on the back of the cards are designed to reinforce social behavior change by addressing attitudes, knowledge, and behavior regarding child abuse prevention.

Materials Needed

  • Flashcards (3×5 or 4×6)—Can be professionally printed, or printed in-house on cardstock
  • “Non-negotiables” from Code of Conduct

Preparation Needed

  1. On one side of the cards you will print the “non-negotiable” (statement from your code of conduct)
  2. On the back of the card you will print a set of 3 questions to discuss with the group (see questions below)

At the end of this training, staff/volunteers will be able to:

  1. Articulate the “non-negotiables” included in the Code of Conduct
  2. Identify a situation when this “non-negotiable” might be difficult to follow
  3. Respond to a co-worker or community member who is violating one of the “non-negotiables”
  4. Engage in dialogue with peers to understand what these “non-negotiables” look like at their organization

Discussion/Teaching Strategy
Take anywhere from 5-20 minutes during a team meeting. Select a flashcard, and read the statement aloud to the group. In small groups, or as a whole-group, have staff discuss the 3 questions on the back of the card to reinforce the “non-negotiables.”

* If you choose to have staff discuss in small groups, we recommend sharing out at the end to discuss as a whole-group. If you don’t have time, walk around and engage in the small-group discussions to support their conversations.

Question #1
How do you feel about this statement?

The intent of this question is to assess staff attitudes, reactions, and feelings about the “non-negotiable.”

Question #2
Can you think of a time when this statement might be difficult to follow?

The intent of this question is for staff to consider their organization/program context, and think of scenarios when it may be difficult to uphold this “non-negotiable.” Help them to move beyond the theoretical, and include knowledge of how the statement applies within your sites and program realities.

Question #3
How would you respond if you saw a violation of this statement?

This is the most important question—staff need to identify opportunities for action and potential behavior change. If staff seem hesitant to report a concern or rule violation to their supervisor, probe further. You can ask, “What are the potential consequences if you don’t report the rule violation, or if you don’t uphold this 100% of the time?”

* Remind staff that we don’t catch abusers abusing; we catch them breaking rules.