Safeguarding is an extremely important issue for many voluntary and community groups.
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding is about protecting vulnerable people from harm, preventing harm and responding to concerns about alleged and suspected harm. Safeguarding applies to children and vulnerable adults.
Child protection is part of safeguarding. The Department for Education says "It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm."
Safeguarding and your organisation
Making sure your organisation has policies and procedures in place for safeguarding and child protection:
- protects children,young people and vulnerable adults from harm and abuse
- enables staff and volunteers to know what to do if they are worried
- shows that your group is responsible and has pride in its work.
You may also want to develop safeguards because you:
- have been told that you need a safeguarding policy and procedure in order to get funding or public liability insurance
- are applying for charitable status, and the Charity Commission has asked if you have a child protection policy
- suspect, or have experienced, an incident of abuse, and want to make sure it doesn’t happen again
- simply want to ensure your group is as safe as possible for children.
You should think about appointing a safeguarding officer and training for that officer and other relevant staff/trustees.
Making a Safeguarding referral
If you work directly with children or vulnerable adults and you have a concern about them, you should act.
Advice for people working with children (Dorset Resource)
The Safe Network (National Resource)
Safeguarding training for those working with children gives details of courses run by Dorset County Council. These include a two day level 3 Safeguarding Children course, normally suitable for those designated as having a safeguarding responsibility for their organisation, and a half day Safeguarding Children Awareness Level 2 which gives a general overview and could be useful for others in an organisation who come into contact with children. There are similar courses for those working with adults.