What is Safeguarding?

In this blog, we are going right back to ground level, what is safeguarding? What is the purpose of it? And, why is it so important that safeguarding practices are robust, thorough and embodied by all stakeholders?

What is safeguarding? 

Essentially, safeguarding is the act of protecting children from harm and developing their welfare. 

Child protection is part of safeguarding. When a child is identified as enduring or it is a possibility that they could be about to endure significant harm. The Child Protection Procedures detail how to respond to concerns you may have about a child or young person. 

Safeguarding can mean several different things: Protecting children from abuse and maltreatment, now this can be from anyone, not just their parents but from anyone who could be abusing them. Even their peers. 

It can also mean preventing harm to children's health or development. Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care. 

Safeguarding is taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. If you see, hear or even feel something is not right, you have a duty to report that concern to you safeguarding lead or person responsible for leading safeguarding in your organisation. 

 

What is the purpose of safeguarding? 

The whole purpose of safeguarding is to protect children from harm, on all levels. We want to protect our children and give them every opportunity to grow up and succeed in life. It is well documented that ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) have a detrimental effect on the future of the child. 

The Wave Trust says that ACEs are: 

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful incidents or environments which children experience and which have the potential to cause long-lasting trauma. 

Psychological trauma is what happens when a person is overwhelmed by stress and feels that he or she is unable to return to a “safe” state. When this occurs, it can cause lasting harm to the brain’s stress responses, potentially leaving those affected by trauma feeling like they are fighting old dangers years after they’ve passed. 

Why is it so important that safeguarding practices are robust, thorough, and Embodied by all stakeholders? 

Safeguarding our children is everyone's responsibility, from the CEO of an organisation to the crossing patrol leader in the morning. We are all a part of a child’s life, however small it may be and it is important that a child is watched and protected in every aspect of their life. You may only see that child for a few minutes a day but in that time, you could notice the way they are spoken to by their parent or handled inappropriately and you might be the only one who has the chance to save them.  

This is why it is so important that all stakeholders know what the safeguarding policies and procedures are in order to protect the children they are with.  

It is also vital that they all receive training on a regular basis so that stakeholders are primed and ready to spot the sometimes very subtle changes that can occur as a symptom of any of the possible ways that a child can suffer. Such as: 

  • Bullying and cyberbullying
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Child Trafficking
  • Criminal exploitation and gangs
  • Domestic abuse
  • Physical abuse  
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse  
  • Neglect
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Grooming
  • Non-recent abuse
  • Online abuse 

You can find out more about each of these types of abuse at NSPCC 

 

Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility. Keep your eyes open and notice small changes in behaviour then report everything, however small it may seem, to the person responsible for safeguarding.  

Author
Vikkey Chaffe
Head of Community Relations
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