I believe every person in society deserves the right to live, learn and develop in an environment, which is considered safe, secure, free from exploitation, free from abuse and free from harm.
Safeguarding exists today because those looking to inflict harm for their own gratification will naturally gravitate towards those members of society who are considered most vulnerable. The two key examples we see are: children and vulnerable adults. By the same token, those looking to inflict harm will naturally gravitate to those organisations, which are considered the most vulnerable, or ‘easy targets’. Those organisations without a Safeguarding Culture.
You may run a local sports club that provides coaching for children, or you may recruit new carers in a care home. Maybe you are a CEO at a charitable youth organisation or perhaps your fashion business is about to photograph child models for the new summer line.
If your organisation has any link to children or vulnerable adults whatsoever, then safeguarding should be one of your top priorities.
Sure principles, policies and procedures need to be established and can enable you to say that your company’s safeguarding is in place at a high level, however, your safeguarding is only as good as the way you communicate it throughout your organisation, both internally and externally.
The key to effective safeguarding is to get people to buy into it, to get people to believe in it, to get people to live and breathe it.
I believe that achieving effective safeguarding is intrinsically linked to the creation, implementation and continuous strengthening of a Safeguarding Culture.
Culture has a proven track record of separating human beings from the rest of the living world. It is arguably our greatest invention and a reason why humans are at the top of the food chain.
It is NOT because we are the biggest, fastest or strongest. We are not!
It is because of our ability to create culture. And what is culture I hear you cry? Culture is people coming together around a common set of beliefs and values.
Religion, politics, civil rights movements, football clubs, going to the moon, model railway societies! The list is endless – but you know that success and progress lies within cultures.
You can take the first step to creating a Safeguarding Culture in your organisation by creating a common set of Safeguarding beliefs and values.
Why not start by taking a blank piece of paper and writing the first draft of your Safeguarding Charter. Here's mine...
Safeguarding means something different to every organisation but the six principles in this charter should apply to you in your own way.
Once you've written them, think about one concrete step you can take to make each one a little bit better than it is today. Remember, the key to safeguarding is acting.
If you'd like to share your Safeguarding Charter with me or indeed get some feedback on your concrete actions then please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org