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What Is Safeguarding & Why Is It Important?

Sep 30, 2022 | DBS

Sadly, we still live in a society where the most vulnerable people are subjected to abuse and neglect. Estimates from the most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales found that 5.5% of adults aged 16 to 74 years had been subjected to domestic abuse between March 2019 and 2020.

Living in an environment that is safe, away from abuse, harm or exploitation, is a basic human right that we all deserve. This is why safeguarding and protecting children and other vulnerable groups is so vital.

In this post, we discuss the process of safeguarding, its importance as well as how one can safeguard children and vulnerable adults.

What Is Safeguarding?

The NHS defines safeguarding as “protecting a citizen’s health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is an integral part of providing high-quality health care. Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility.”

Safeguarding typically refers to protecting vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly and the disabled.

Why Is Safeguarding Important?

If your business works with children and/or vulnerable adults, strict safeguarding policies must be in place. This typically includes organisations such as schools, care homes, hospitals and charities.

Even other places of work not listed should have a safeguarding plan in place to ensure that staff are cared for appropriately. Employees should also be trained so that they can carry out safeguarding duties.

Should you not have the required safeguarding measures in place, it could lead to:

  • Abuse and neglect
  • Increased cases of abuse
  • Lack of empathy and compassion being shown toward vulnerable people
  • Individuals suffering from increased confusion and distress
  • Loss of dignity and autonomy for vulnerable adults

    DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

    The 6 Principles Of Safeguarding

    The UK government created six safeguarding principles, as agreed upon within the Care Act 2014, with the aim of improving the protection of vulnerable individuals.

    1. Empowerment

    Ensuring people are confident and supported in making their own decisions and giving informed consent. This gives people autonomy and control over the decisions they make.

    2. Protection

    This involves providing representation and support to those in need. Organisations can implement measures to prevent abuse from occurring and support those at risk.

    3. Prevention

    Protecting individuals from the risk of harm, neglect or abuse is imperative. Organisations must work to prevent these issues from occurring by raising awareness, training staff, and making information accessible. They also encourage individuals to ask for help if they feel at risk.

    4. Proportionality

    Explores what the least intrusive response to a situation is in correlation to the risk. This aims to ensure the individual’s life is impacted as little as possible by accurately assessing the risk.

    5. Partnership

    Partnerships should be fostered with local communities, and solutions found that can help in preventing and detecting abuse.

    6. Accountability

    Everyone is responsible for safeguarding vulnerable individuals. Those who work closely with vulnerable groups should be responsible for noting any risks. Although carers and social workers have a responsibility to highlight any potential harm, it should also be noted that doctors, friends and relatives also have a responsibility to flag any concerns.

    The Importance Of Safeguarding Children

    Anyone under the age of 18 years of age is classified as a child and must be protected from harm as set out under safeguarding policies.

    In order to safeguard a child, you must:

    • Provide them with protection from abuse, exploitation and mistreatment.
    • Prevent anything that may harm their health or development.
    • Ensure that they grow up in an environment where they are safe and cared for.
    • Take actions necessary to ensure the child gets the best outcomes in life.

    Children’s Safeguarding Policy

    In addition to the above, section 11 of the Children Act 2004 states that all organisations must have a Child Safeguarding Policy in place and ensure all employees have undergone the necessary DBS check.

    A Child Safeguarding Policy should:

    • Describe the aims and purpose of the policy for the organisation.
    • Explain the process in the event a child’s well-being becomes a concern.
    • Include procedures that are put in place to safeguard children from abuse.
    • Inform staff of the legislation and guidance that influences the policy.
    • State clearly who is protected by the policy and who must adhere to it.
    • Include the additional needs for those with disabilities or those from ethnic minorities.
    • Inform staff when the policy comes into effect and when it will be reviewed.

    It is also important that staff undergo safeguarding training so that they have a clear understanding of the latest threats and updates regarding the welfare of children.

    Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

    An adult is defined as vulnerable if they’re unable to protect themselves from harm or exploitation. Safeguarding vulnerable adults aims to protect them from harm, neglect or abuse, while also supporting them so that they can live a dignified life.

    Safeguarding a vulnerable adult entails the following:

    • Ensure that they are safe.
    • Supporting them in making their own decisions and providing informed consent.
    • Preventing them from experiencing abuse or neglect.
    • Promoting their well-being.


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