Streetwise aims to include all young people in our target group, regardless of their circumstances or background.
By implementing this policy we comply with anti-discrimination laws and the access and equity policies in funding agreements which apply to us. However Streetwise goes beyond these requirements and takes a social justice approach where we take active steps to increase the participation of all disadvantaged and marginalised young people.
Inclusiveness means that young people not only know about and can access our services, but feel included as a valued person at Streetwise. Our inclusiveness is demonstrated by these principles:
1. Access: Our services are available to all young people who are entitled to them and are free of any form of discrimination. We take active steps to help young people overcome any barriers or special circumstances which may prevent them from accessing all streetwise activities.
2. Equity: At Streetwise everyone gets a ‘fair go’. Activities are developed and delivered on the basis of fair treatment of young people. We allocate our resources according to need.
3. Communication: We inform young people about our activities and how they can obtain them. We also consult with young people regularly about the adequacy, design, delivery and standard of delivery.
4. Responsiveness: We are sensitive to the needs and requirements of young people from diverse backgrounds, and responsive as far as practicable to the particular circumstances of individuals. We work with young people to meet their needs in an appropriate and timely way.
5. Effectiveness: We aim to create good processes and outcomes for young people.
6. Efficiency: We make the best use of available resources. We carefully consider our resource allocations according to the needs of streetwise members, including the re-distribution of existing resources to meet the needs of particular target groups.
7. Confidentiality: We maintain strict confidentiality as required by law in order to create an environment where all young people have the confidence to work with us.
8. Accountability: We report on what we do and what we achieve, to ensure we are accountable for implementing access and equity principles. We are open to public scrutiny by young people, our funders, our community, our staff and management.
Streetwise supports staff training and development by providing a budget and safeguarding.
Volunteers are encouraged to take active steps to increase their knowledge and understanding of issues which affect inclusiveness. These steps might include:
• talking about these issues at network meetings
• obtaining local population statistics, such as for ethnic groups and in particular newly arrived and emerging ethnic groups
• talking with specialist agencies about the needs of young people in the area
• attending professional development conferences
• attending relevant training courses and seminars
• running joint activities with other agencies who have relevant skills
Young people and barriers
All staff / Volunteers are encouraged to take active steps to reduce barriers which young people might face in activities
Some barriers cannot be completely eliminated. However staff/Volunteers will take reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce barriers which are likely to affect a young person because of their:
• gender (female, male, transgender)
• sexual preference/orientation (or their uncertainty about their sexuality)
• HIV positive status or AIDS
• being a parent, pregnancy, or breastfeeding
• being a carer (eg. of a parent or a sibling)
• being a victim of domestic violence
• dress or appearance
• religion or spirituality
• their experience as a refugee or asylum seeker
• poor English literacy (written or spoken)
• learning difficulties, or leaving school early
• mental illness
• drug use or addiction
• criminal record or involvement in the justice system
• anger or behaviour problems
• financial situation or poverty
• belonging to a particular social group or subculture of young people
• marital status
or because of a combination of these things.
Streetwise will not target services to particular groups, as barriers may be created for other groups.
Assessing needs and planning
Streetwise will identify appropriate methods of activities delivery in order to include a wide range of groups of young people. For example, we will consider:
• what activities and services we provide
• when each activity takes place (daytime, afternoon, night, weekend, school holidays)
• where each activity takes place (at our premises, outreach, schools etc)
• who can participate in each activity (e.g. in order to effectively include one group do we need to exclude another such as a particular age group or sex)
• who will run each activity (e.g. by considering the sex or ethnicity of particular staff, a joint venture with another agency with relevant experience etc).
Where possible Stretwise staff will take steps to promote non-discrimination and inclusiveness in the wider society. Such steps might include:
• running activities so young people can learn about and experience other cultures
• participating in consultations and networking to improve how statutory and non-statutory agencies deal with different groups in the community.
Streetwise will take all reasonable steps to reduce or eliminate barriers, such as the following, where appropriate.
• provide multiple methods of contacting us such as phone, SMS (texting), email, and in person
• ensure all written materials meet plain English standards
Transport and physical access:
• where possible, arrange for disability services to help bring disabled young people to the activity or service
• use venues which are close to public transport
• use venues with greater safety for young people waiting for transport at night
• where possible, use venues which are wheelchair accessible
• acknowledge the agency’s commitment to diversity through posters etc
• advertise the diversity of staff and volunteers (eg. male and female, different cultures)
• provide opportunities for young people and/or their family to visit the agency or meet the staff before they decide to use the service
• provide foods which suit a range of cultures (e.g. include vegetarian choices)
• provide services free of charge.
Promoting and running activities and services
Promoting activities and services
Streetwise will make use of varied channels of publicity where appropriate to ensure information reaches a wide cross-section of young people, families and agencies. These channels might include:
• disability services and support groups
• mental health services
• alcohol and other drug services and groups
• ethnic and refugee organisations and services
• gay/lesbian youth groups and services
• family support services, community health, young mums/parents groups
• church and religious groups
• hangouts for particular groups and sub-cultures of young people
• youth media, websites and email groups.
Where appropriate, we will ask for feedback on draft promotional material from young people in special groups being targeted and/or workers in agencies with experience working with that group.
Statistics & personal information
Streetwise will collect a set of statistics about young people using the service or activity, to allow us to assess its performance on inclusiveness issues. Those details might include, when appropriate:
• special access issues (disabilities, parent/carer, transport etc).
We will avoid invading privacy or collecting too much information about young people. Where the information is for statistics only, we will make it clear to young people that providing these details is purely voluntary.
Expression of religion, culture and lifestyle
Staff can exhibit (e.g. via jewellery or clothing), and discuss with young people, their own:
• religious and spiritual beliefs
• culture and lifestyle
• when appropriate to the services being provided
• in ways which encourage young people to exercise their own choices and develop their own identity.
This must be in moderation, and staff must not:
• do this in a way which creates a barrier for any particular groups of young people
• provide unequal service according to the young person’s interests, beliefs, commitments and actions (e.g. about religion).
Streetwise may celebrate or mark religious occasions (e.g. Easter) which are significant to staff or young people, however we will:
• use sensitivity given that some young people or staff may not belong to that religion
Streetwise staff will dress in a way which strikes a reasonable balance between the expectations of:
• young people
• parents and community members
• the organisation.
Eliminating harassment, vilification and excluding behaviour
Harassment, vilification and excluding behaviour
Staff, young people, and others in the organisation must not:
• sexually harass other people;
• harass, bully, or ostracise (ignore and exclude) other people.
Staff, young people, and others in the organisation must not:
• vilify (put down), or make jokes, comments or actions which may offend or hurt other people
• play music or display material (including on clothes and bags) which may offend or hurt other people.
Staff response to this behaviour
Streetwise will never condone, ignore, or appear to condone or ignore harassment, bullying, vilification or offensive or excluding behaviour.
Streetwise will adopt a range of interventions and consequences for such behaviour by young people, depending on the specific behaviour, the effects of the behaviour on others, the intent and the degree of awareness behind the behaviour, and whether it is a first or repeat occurrence:
• a quick comment by a staff member to let the young person and everyone else who is aware of what happened know that such behaviour is not OK
• a longer discussion with the young person, by themselves or with all young people present, discussing the behaviour and the issues involved
• provide support to anybody affected by the behaviour, and inform them that they can make a complaint using the Complaints Procedure.
As much as possible staff will take an educative and persuasive approach rather than a purely punitive approach, remembering that the young person may be repeating behaviour learnt at home or behaviour common in their own environment. However, where other interventions and consequences have failed and other people are being seriously affected by the behaviour, a young person will be excluded from activities in cases of repeated behaviour.
At the same time, Streetwise is legally obliged to take all reasonable steps to eliminate discrimination against and harassment of groups of young people. Staff must report to the Manager any patterns of such behaviour regardless of whether the offender or victim is a young person, a staff member, a volunteer or anyone else in the workplace.