Safeguarding affects everyone in society. Everyone has a role to play in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
If you work or come into contact with young people or vulnerable adults, whether in an employed or voluntary capacity, you have a duty of care towards them and should be signed up to the agreed safeguarding procedures.
You could work in a hotel, library, sports centre or clinic, or anywhere you regularly come into contact with children and young people. It is crucial that you are aware of how to report concerns about physical, emotional or sexual abuse; neglect, trafficking or exploitation so that your concerns can be addressed quickly and future harm is prevented.
Whether you come into regular contact with vulnerable groups or not, it is important that you are able to spot the signs of abuse and report them quickly.
Everyone has a right to be safe.
The NSPCC estimates that for every child identified as needing protection from abuse, another 8 are suffering abuse, therefore it is crucial that as many people as possible are aware of how to spot the signs and how to report them.
‘Safeguarding is everybody’s business’
This is a powerful message which highlights the importance of society being alert to possible signs of abuse or neglect and then acting on their concerns.
Abuse can happen anywhere and in any situation, it does not discriminate. We should never assume when it comes to abuse as it comes in many forms and we should be aware that it is not always physical, for example, abuse can be conveying to a child or vulnerable adult that they are worthless or unloved. We should also be aware that abuse doesn’t just occur in underprivileged situations and can be very good at disguising itself.
Safeguarding not only applies in the health, social care and education professions but also to professions in the housing sector or social security. For example, individuals in financial institutions such as banks should be aware of the financial abuse of older people and be aware of the signs it may be taking place.
Cooperation between agencies and a multi-agency approach plays a big part in safeguarding and has been highlighted in guidance and legislation over the years.
Every local authority is required to set up a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) and a Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) which include a range of local organisations. Sometimes this is formalised in a ‘multiagency safeguarding hub’ or MASH. As well as the local authority, other organisations that can be included in a SAB or LSCB are:
- The police
- Health services
- Probation services
- Local youth offending team
- Clinical commissioning groups
Sharing information you have either within the workplace or in personal time as early as possible is the key to effective safeguarding.
Barnardo’s have created an impactful video highlighting the role individuals can play in safeguarding a child or vulnerable adult.
The video shows the individuals that could have acted to protect the vulnerable person in colour.
How we can help...
We aim to raise awareness specifically with organisations where children and young people live, learn and play to engage organisations and businesses and their employees of the signs to look out for and actions to take to help ensure that organisations are not vulnerable to being associated with these types of crimes.
All employees and volunteers can specifically form a crucial part of the fight against these issues and be the eyes and ears of the environment and community, providing potentially important information to their employer and the relevant agencies and authorities.
There are a number of criminal offences associated with child sexual exploitation and human trafficking resulting in damaging consequences including a possibility of prosecution and action being taken in relation to reputational and financial damage. By working together we can play a positive role in protecting children, young people and organisations from this activity.
We feel that it is vital that all companies engage with training and best practice. We are therefore seeking the support and endorsement of those involved in this line of work within the UK in supporting this crucial awareness. Safeguarding children and young people is everyone’s responsibility and we all have the power to help prevent child sexual exploitation and trafficking.
For more information on how our safeguarding team can assist you in better equipping your business and staff to be able to spot the signs and prevent safeguarding issues, get in touch: