The youth work relationship is both a privileged relationship and a power relationship. This is what makes ethics central to youth work. A power relationship is legitimate where power is given voluntarily and without coercion. Abuse of this power happens when the youth worker uses the power given by a young person to further their own interest to the detriment of the interests of the young person.

This Code of Ethics provides an agreed set of guidelines for youth work in Aotearoa to ensure that youth work is carried out in a safe, skilled, ethical manner. It is one of the ways youth workers hold each other accountable for our practice, and in doing so protects the credibility of youth work.

It also provides youth workers with a frame of reference from which to develop ethical awareness, to create discussion and debate of ethical issues and to implement good and ethical practice for both youth workers and young people.