An introduction to Safeguarding
Safeguarding children and adults is an important part of the role of professionals working in all levels of education and the health sector, as well as individuals employed in any other role where they might come into contact with vulnerable people.
Volunteers involved in social, leisure and sporting activities should also be aware of their responsibilities for Safeguarding those in their care.
To ensure that children, young people and adults are protected from harm, responsible adults should have the competence to identify when there may be abuse taking place or other issues that put their charges at risk. This recognition of abuse or potential harm should be followed by the appropriate action.
It’s therefore important for those in a position of responsibility to understand different kinds of abuse and the follow-up action required, relevant to their role and seniority.
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding can fall into a number of categories including the ability to recognise and respond when any of the following are suspected:
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation, including online
- Physical/domestic abuse
- Emotional abuse and neglect
- Substance misuse
- Bullying and cyberbullying
- Female genital mutilation
- Abuse related to a belief in witchcraft
It can also relate to avoiding accidental harm, for example health care workers and social care staff should be trained in the correct way to lift or handle someone in their care to avoid injury to either party.
Safeguarding has different levels of responsibility, starting with those who raise awareness of an issue. They should report to a senior manager so that concerns can be taken up by an investigating officer. Organisations may also have an overall co-ordinator and other specialists responsible for Safeguarding activities.
What response is required for Safeguarding?
As well as the ability to recognise signs and indicators, it’s important that those responsible respond in the appropriate way. This can include any or all of the following depending on the specific situation:
- Immediate response to an individual disclosing abuse
- Reporting the issue to the appropriate person
- Ensuring good records are kept
- Consulting and working with other agencies
- Ongoing monitoring of a situation
Any individual responsible for Safeguarding will need to be familiar with the legislation and guidelines currently in place and keep up to date with new developments as they arise.
Best practice in Safeguarding is important for both employees and volunteers working with vulnerable adults, young people and children. Anyone taking on a role that requires responsibility for the wellbeing of others should ensure that they undergo the relevant training.
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CMS Vocational Training Ltd can be contacted on 01924 470 477.
More information on other key safeguarding topics can be found here:
What is Prevent?
Prevent and Fundamanetal British Values
Prevent – Who is at vulnerable?
Extremist behaviour and language
How to stay safe online
Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM)
Self-harm – what is it and how to report it