If you come into contact with children or vulnerable adults it’s crucial that an up to date safeguarding policy is communicated amongst all staff and visitors to your business.
It is important not only to let staff know of your company’s safeguarding expectations but to ensure that visitors to your organisation are also aware of your standards and procedures when safeguarding. This enables them to adopt the same approach and mindset when it comes to the seriousness of safeguarding people under your care.
There is a lot of myths when it comes to safeguarding policies with people having beliefs such as:
“Our work isn’t child-focused so we don’t need a child safeguarding policy”
“We don’t work directly with children or vulnerable adults”
“We’re not a child-focused agency”
“We don’t work directly within a community, so safeguarding procedures wouldn’t benefit us”
“We only employee good, honest staff. None of our employees would ever abuse children.”
We must remember that even if your organisation doesn’t come into regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, policies and procedures to protect these groups from abuse may still be relevant. Abuse can happen in all situations, in all countries and in all communities.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and whether you work directly or indirectly with the vulnerable groups or in community work you must ensure that you have the policies and procedures in place to reflect this.
Research supports this by showing that abusers target organisations where there are no policies or procedures in place to protect children and vulnerable adults and where they will achieve easy access to victims. For example, an organisation where children/vulnerable adults are not the main focus and are less visible will open up an opportunity for abusers.
We should never make assumptions when it comes to abuse, as it can occur in every kind of setting.
Does my organisation need a safeguarding policy?
- 1. Have staff working in communities
- 2. Conduct humanitarian activities
- 3. Work with disadvantaged/disabled children or vulnerable adults
- 4. Deliver emergency relief
- 5. A religious institution or place of worship e.g. a mosque, church, synagogue or temple
- 6. Provide education to children, whether full curriculum, language classes or vocational
- 7. Conduct sports activities with children
- 8. Regularly engage volunteers, whether from the local community, other communities, or overseas
- 9. Conduct study visits in communities
- 10. Use media of children in marketing and fundraising
Your safeguarding policy:
- After years of research, rules of best practice have already been established which can be adapted to a variety of settings
- If your organisation does not fully take on board and adopt the policies, they will serve no purpose in safeguarding, policies must be constantly updated and circulated
- You should try and involve all staff in the creation of the policy, not only will this ensure all staff understand and are on board but also relay that everyone has the same responsibilities when it comes to safeguarding
- Your policy should contain a number of components which each play a crucial role in the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults and together complete a full policy
- You must ensure that all managers in your organisation openly embody and display your safeguarding policy and stress its importance to all members of staff
- You will need to set a thorough plan of policy training for your members of staff and also a plan for new team members
- It may be a good idea if you work closely or within a community to make the residents aware of your policy and processes when it comes to reporting safeguarding concerns. If members of the community know exactly what to do if they have a concern it may help prevent abuse or stop it in its early stages.
What can happen if someone in my organisation abuses a child or vulnerable adult?
- Abuse can destroy a victim's life not only in the short term but in the long term the effects can be devastating
- Your member of staff may be arrested or charged with a criminal offence
- Your organisation may be forced to spot operating through a revoked license
- You may lose crucial funding
- Reputation is crucial for businesses and negative media attention can seriously impact the future of your business
- Losing the trust of your community or beneficiaries can mean your organisation no longer can carry out its work
Is it worth letting your organisation be at risk?
You have nothing to lose from developing and implementing a thorough safeguarding policy that your staff can take on board and be confident in reporting any issues they have.
A well-communicated safeguarding policy can have many benefits, a main one being the positive light this can put your organisation under and the trust gained by proving how seriously you take safeguarding in your business.
Take a look at our template safeguarding policy here!
We can assess and improve your safeguarding procedures to ensure you're fully equipped to better protect the children under your care. Get in touch with a member of the team to find out more: