The term safeguarding refers to the procedures that are in place to ensure that the human rights, health and wellbeing of individuals are protected in such a way that they may live a life free from neglect, abuse or harm. This especially focuses on safeguarding children, young adults, and vulnerable adults. Safeguarding training, policies and procedures are vital if you work in an organisation in which you are looking after the welfare of children or vulnerable adults, as you have a responsibility to ensure that they are protected.
The Benefits of Safeguarding
Below is a list of the benefits that safeguarding training provides:
- The ability to spot any signs of abuse, fear or neglect.
- The tools to be able to communicate with those who are vulnerable.
- To be able to identify and understand the people who are vulnerable or at risk of harm.
- To be able to report and record safeguarding issues.
Conversely, any warning signs that are missed could lead to severe consequences and leave vulnerable people open to fear, abuse, neglect or exploitation.
The UK government defines safeguarding children as ‘The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.’.
It was in 2002 that the move from child protection to an outlook that is all-inclusive was put into place.
In 2006, the government released the publication, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’– a statutory guide that outlined how individuals and organisations need to work together to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children. The publication has since undergone several revisions to improve and build upon the guidelines.
‘The Care Act 2014’ provides measures that need to be put in place to safeguard vulnerable adults. The act provides rules and rights that organisations and authorities need to understand when neglect or abuse is suspected.
The 6 Key Principles of Safeguarding
The following six safeguarding principles were originally created by the UK government for safeguarding adults, but they can also be used when it comes to safeguarding children.
- Empowerment: Individuals need to have control and choice in any decisions they make.
- Protection: Support needs to be provided for those who require it and organisations should be able to show that measures are in place to prevent abuse or neglect from occurring and provide support and help for those who are at risk.
- Prevention: It is important to prevent neglect, abuse or harm from occurring. Training staff, raising awareness and making information accessible are ways to enforce prevention.
- Proportionality: This ensures that each individual is taken into account when dealing with safeguarding issues. Every individual and any risks need to be respected.
- Partnerships: By forming partnerships within the local community, abuse can be prevented and detected.
- Accountability: Everyone is accountable and has a part to play when it comes to safeguarding and protecting those who are vulnerable.