Clowns Without Borders UK

Code of ethics

Clowns Without Borders’ (CWB) Code of Ethics aims to ensure that our Staff, Trustees and Volunteers treat each other and the children, young people and communities that we work with, with dignity and respect.

​Clowns Without Borders Code of Ethics is designed to provide clear guidance to our Staff, Trustees and Volunteers for Ethicsing themselves in a manner that is consistent with their role and commitment to our values, and to provide examples of Ethics that will always be unacceptable.

​Our Code of Ethics is designed to ensure compliance with related Policies, full disclosure of suspected or alleged breaches of the expected standards of Ethics, and to maintain the professional standing of the charity so that we can achieve our mission to support the wellbeing of children living through crisis by sharing laughter and play. 

Application and Scope

  1. This Code of Ethics is binding on all Clowns Without Borders Staff, Trustees and Volunteers.  Staff, Trustees and Volunteers will be required to sign an acknowledgement to show that they have read and understood the Code of Ethics.
  2. Staff, Volunteers and Trustees are individually and collectively responsible for complying with this Code of Ethics:i) As a Clowns Without Borders member of Staff, Volunteer or Trustee you are an ambassador of the organisation and your actions and behaviour both during and outside of working hours (whether inside or outside of the office environment) can enhance or hinder our reputation. As such, Clowns Without Borders Staff, Volunteers and Trustees are responsible for managing their behaviour both within and beyond our work in accordance with this Code of Ethics and associated Policies and procedures.
  3. This Code should also be read and understood in conjunction with the followingassociated Policies:
    • Child Protection Policy
    • Anti-Fraud, Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy
    • Grievance Policy
    • Whistleblowing Policy

Code of Ethics

I understand that I hold a fundamental objective to better the situation of children and young people who live in crises of whatever type (conflict, natural disaster, social inequalities, etc.) in any part of the world.

The main people we serve are children and young people living in situations of crisis. I will actively work to safeguard their rights.

I will act fairly and honestly. I will not take part in any form of discrimination harassment, or abuse (physical, sexual or verbal), intimidation or exploitation, or in any other way infringe the rights of others.

I will do this by:

  • Always putting the best interest of the child first
  • Adhering to Clowns Without Borders’s Policy on Child Protection and Image Policy
  • Support children to raise questions and concerns
  • Use positive, non-violent communication and practices to manage child behaviour
  • Work to create an open environment where issues relating to children’s Rights, their wellbeing and protection are raised and discussed
  • Sharing work that is inclusive so children with different/special needs are equal participants
  • Raise concerns about inappropriate behaviour from an adult of child immediately
  • Perform risk assessments when planning activities to minimise harm/risk
  • Ensure physical contact with children is always appropriate and within clear guidelines
  • Implement Clowns Without Borders “two adult rule” in everything we do so no adult is left alone

I will never:

  • Develop or engage in sexual or emotional relationships with children or young adults
  • Act in an inappropriate or sexually provocative way
  • Spend time alone with a child or young adult, separated from others, behind closed doors or
  • Sleep in the same room or bed as a child
  • Allow a child to sleep at home without supervision
  • Act in a manner that may be offensive or risk a child being violated
  • Favour a child by giving, for example, presents or making promises
  • Exhibit children through, for example, photos and movies on social media without the consent of the child and guardian

Clowns Without Borders’s work sometimes requires physical contact, such as a circus or clown workshop or when a child volunteers to as a participant in a scene in one of our performances. In these instances, I will:

  • Be sensitive to the child’s feelings and body language as I understand they may not always communicate verbally
  • Keep physical contact to a minimum I understand physical contact is always unacceptable and inappropriate if it:
    • Includes touching the groin, genital area, buttocks, breasts or any part body that may cause distress or embarrassment for the child
    • Frightens, distresses or embarrasses a child
    • Undermines trust
    • Occurs in a private place

If I am working in a Clown/Circus workshop with children or young adults, I understand physical contact might be acceptable if it does not contravene any of the above and:

  • Occurs with the child’s understanding and permission
  • Is used to assist in skills development, such as in a circus workshop
  • Is required for the child’s safety
  • Is for the child’s benefit, not adult gratification
  • Occurs in an open environment

Pre and Post Performance

Due to the joyful and exuberant nature of our work, sometimes children initiate physical contact. In these instances, I will not:

  • Prolong physical contact

I will:

  • Keep physical contact to a minimum by ‘high-fiving’, putting a hand on a child’s shoulder or mirroring body language e.g. dancing/clapping etc. without using physical contact

I will make no distinction between children and their communities for reasons of race, age, religion, culture, social situation or any other categorisation.

I shall work to understand and respect the cultures and customs of the countries I work in. When choosing how to engage with children and communities, I shall consider the sensibilities of the destination population, taking into account the culture as well as the context of local situations. 

Clowns Without Borders is political and religious neutrality. I will not use humanitarian activities to impart personal “points of view” on populations. I will not attempt to “educate” the population, share political viewpoints and refrain from any “evangelical” activities.  

I will maintain high standards of personal and professional Ethics whilst working or volunteering with Clowns Without Borders. I will not behave in a way that creates unnecessary risk to my security or the security of others or that compromises the values and reputation of Clowns Without Borders.  I will not drink alcohol or use any substances in a way that will adversely affect my ability to do my job or affects Clowns Without Borders reputation. I will not use of tobacco or drinking alcohol in the presence of minors.

In respect of the children’s public images, I will not use the participation in humanitarian activities as a means to promote my own professional career, nor use Clowns Without Borders images for my professional marketing purposes.

I certify that I have never been charged or convicted of a crime or misdemeanor involving unlawful Ethics or contact with a minor.