Learn about safeguarding and its roles and responsibilities in protecting children against harm
Published 1 Dec 2022
The welfare of children and young people is vital for a safe environment. The development and implementation of appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures ensure that children are safe from adults and other children who may constitute harm.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) defined safeguarding as, “protecting a person’s rights to live in safety and free from abuse and neglect.” In the Safeguarding Children Report published in 2002 by the Department of Health, the term was identified to mean:
According to the Children Acts of 1989 and 2004, children or a child is defined as someone under the age of 18 or someone who has not yet reached the age of majority. Young people are defined as those under the age of 18 who have left school early.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) defined safeguarding in children based on the actions that it involves. They are as follows:
The Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 defined child abuse as:
“A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.”
There are many other types of abuse which professionals and practitioners have to be aware of and abuse can happen to anyone of any age. The 5 main types of abuse as given by SCIE are as follows:
If you have concerns about a child or a young person you are entrusted with, you should speak with those who are responsible for their protection or report it to a designated officer for safeguarding when you notice signs of abuse.
While everyone has the responsibility to protect the children, there are people who have specifically been given the responsibility of safeguarding them. Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department for Education, 2018) states that they are:
Every organization that works with children must have a designated person in charge of child protection and safety. This person is called a nominated child protection lead. NSPCC has specified them as:
These individuals should be educated on how to recognize indications of suspected abuse and how, where, and to whom to report their suspicions. The Children Act 2004 also provided a legal responsibility on certain organizations, agencies, and individuals to cooperate in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, as set out in Section 11. They include the following:
Workers in these organizations who fail to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect may face disciplinary consequences, but they are not yet subject to prosecution.
To ensure that safeguarding is done correctly, it’s important to follow the 5 R’s of safeguarding, as stated in the Safeguarding Policy (October 2021) provided by Performance Through People:
5 R’s of Safeguarding
6 Principles of Safeguarding
In 2011, the Department of Health introduced six principles that apply to all health and care settings, both for children and vulnerable adults. These principles are now set out by Care Act of 2014:
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
NSPCC has given practice examples as guides for safeguarding children. These scenarios are instances where safeguarding is crucial to protect the children and also the people working with them. Below are some of them:
Make safeguarding more efficient with SafetyCulture, the best tool for conducting digitized inspections and risk assessments in different organizations. Help a child or a young person by identifying risk, recognizing indicators of abuse, and reporting a concern to a DSO in a more efficient and accurate way.
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Loida Bauto is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. An Interior Designer by training, she began to pursue her passion for writing in 2017. Her interests involve a diverse range of topics such as Disability, Universal Design, and Sustainability, among other matters that aim to improve the world we live in. She is a self-published book author in 2018 and 2021.
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