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Engaging Safely with Children and Young People for Amnesty: Do's and Don'ts

Our code of safe conduct guidelines for staff and volunteers. 


Ensure that children and young people are made to feel welcome at all Amnesty International UK events and activities.  

Remind everyone of the purpose of the activity and the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity.

Encourage, children and adults to constructively challenge attitudes and behaviours that are unacceptable to the group.

If you are concerned that a child or young person is at risk of abuse or harm, follow Amnesty International UK Safeguarding Disclosure Procedure.

Ensure that children under the age of 18 know the name of at least one person present to whom they can speak if they wish and with whom they can raise any concerns.

Consider any necessary health and safety requirements including access to refreshments, shade, toilets etc.  

Respect a child’s right to privacy when sharing information and respect that, however if dealing with a potential disclosure of abuse or neglect never promise confidentiality.  In that case follow Amnesty International UK child protection procedures.

Respect the cultural, religious and ethnic background of the child or young person.

Remember that someone else might misinterpret your words or actions, no matter how well intentioned

Recognise that caution is required, even in sensitive moments such as dealing with
bullying or when child or young person is very upset.

Plan your activities so that they involve more than one other person over 18 years of age being present or at least in sight or hearing of others.

If you do need to work alone with a child or young person, remain in general view –
not ‘hidden away’ behind closed doors.

Pick materials carefully to make sure they are suitable for a young audience. Not all Amnesty International materials are suitable. Please check guidelines/materials beforehand and check appropriateness if necessary. If you consider that the content of an event or activity will not be suitable for children or young people, clearly state a minimum age requirement.

If you visit a school on behalf of Amnesty International UK, ensure that a teacher or other member of the school staff is always with you - you should not be left alone with students.

Seek a child or young person’s consent before taking any photographs of them and obtain consent from their parent, carer or guardian for any promotional use of photographs of those under 18.

Make available the telephone contact numbers which young people can ring if they are distressed:

  • Childline 0800 1111
  • NSPCC 0808 800 5000

Do not

Spend time with children/young people unobserved including online.

Have private contact with children/young people through a personal social media or email account. 

Contact children or young people outside the requirements of the group, project or activity. 

Allow abusive behaviour or activities such as bullying.

Allow or engage in suggestive remarks, gestures or touching of a kind which
could be misunderstood.

Allow any physically rough or sexually provocative games, or inappropriate talking
or touching, by anyone in any group for which you have responsibility.

Allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention seeking behaviours. 

Show favouritism to any individual.

Believe “it could never happen to me”.

What if

You suspect a child or young person is being abused or neglected:

Inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Record and date and facts which support your suspicions.

For more information please see AIUK’s Safeguarding Children and Young People policy.

If a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

A child discloses to you that they have or are being abused by someone else:

Listen carefully to the child. Avoid expressing your own views on the matter. A reaction of shock or disbelief could cause the child to 'shut down', retract or stop talking.

Let them know they've done the right thing. Reassurance can make a big impact to the child who may have been keeping the abuse secret.

Tell them it's not their fault. Abuse is never the child's fault and they need to know this.

Say you will take them seriously. A child could keep abuse secret in fear they won't be believed. They've told you because they want help and trust you'll be the person who will listen to and support them.

Don't talk to the alleged abuser. Confronting the alleged abuser about what the child's told you could make the situation a lot worse for the child.

Explain what you'll do next. If age appropriate, explain to the child you'll need to report the abuse to someone who will be able to help

Don't delay reporting the abuse. The sooner the abuse is reported after the child discloses the better. Report as soon as possible so details are fresh in your mind and action can be taken quickly.

Inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead

If a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

A child discloses to you in a school

If a child discloses to you in a school, for example as an Amnesty volunteer speaker, then you should still listen to the child, but ensure the teacher responsible for your session is informed. You should not be alone with a child or young person in a school setting. 

Before leaving the school premises, you should ask the class teacher or the reception staff to speak to a designated safeguarding lead to report the concern. You should also inform the AIUK Designated Safeguarding Leads who will follow up with the school to ensure the concern is being addressed through the school’s safeguarding procedure.

AIUK Designated Safeguarding Leads

AIUK Deputy Safeguarding Leads:

Mairéad Healy, Head of Safeguarding
Phone: 0207 033 1761

Irene Fufeyin, Head of HR
Phone: 020 703 31693 


Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form