When we think of safeguarding children, our minds immediately go to child abuse. However, that’s just one aspect of safeguarding children. There are a number of other things you need to consider when safeguarding children in your organisation. Training staff and volunteers to identify risky situations and develop policies that will protect vulnerable people is essential for an organisation. Here is what you need to know about safeguarding children as part of your risk management plan.
What is Safeguarding Children?
Safeguarding means protecting children and other vulnerable people from harm, whether it is caused by people or circumstances. Safeguarding children is a legal responsibility of every organisation that works with children. It is also an ethical and moral obligation. There are currently 4 pieces of legislation in England and Wales that govern safeguarding children: – The Children Act (1989) – This requires all organisations that work with children to promote their welfare.
- The Children’s Commissioner for England (2009) – This sets out how organizations should safeguard children.
- The Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) – This governs the way organisations record information about children.
- The Prevent Duty (2015) – This implements the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) The Prevent Duty imposes a statutory duty on public bodies to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. It applies to all sectors of society.
Safeguarding Children – A Brief Guide for Volunteers and Staff
Staff and volunteers are the ones responsible for the safeguarding of children. It is important to keep in mind the needs of each individual child and the family that they are a part of. It is important to remember to be observant and understand how to react if a child or family member is in a harmful situation.
- Communication – Establish a two-way flow of communication with the child and parents or guardians.
- Observation – Look for signs of abuse and neglect. This includes physical signs, as well as behavioural changes in the child’s attitude.
- Recording – Keep careful records of activities and interactions. This will help you understand the child’s needs and how to better meet them.
- Referral – If you are ever in doubt about the child’s safety, you must make a referral to social services.
- Reviewing – Always reflect on your practice to learn from your experiences. This will help you better understand the needs of each child.
The 4 Core Safeguarding Activities
- Child protection – This is the identification of risk factors that could lead to harm to a child.
- Child protection planning – This develops strategies to identify risks and reduce them.
- Child safeguarding – This is the implementation and management of a safeguarding plan.
- Recording and information management – This is the process of storing and tracking information.
3 Tips for a Successful Child Safeguarding Training Program
- Train your staff on a regular basis. You should schedule refresher safeguarding training every 3 years or when staff members have been trained.
- Make sure that staff members keep a record of their training. This record can be as simple as a log or spreadsheet.
- Include the parents or guardians of the children that your organization serves. They may have valuable insight into their child and the family as a whole.
As you can see, safeguarding children is an important part of any organisation that serves children. It is crucial to keep in mind the needs of each child, as well as their family. To do so, you will need to train your staff and volunteers so they can identify when children are in a harmful situation and how to handle that situation. Keep these tips in mind to create a successful safeguarding training program in your organization.