Safeguarding Children – Legislation and Principles for Working with Kids

Safeguarding Children is key to keeping all young people protected and out of harm’s way. Every child deserves to be safe and cared for, but the stark reality is that not all children are protected.

a child playing in a safe environment with a book

Anyone who works with children must understand what safeguarding means and how their role helps ensure the child’s welfare. Organisations such as Children Services, Local Authorities, Social Workers, Police, and OFSTED are all responsible for child safeguarding.

Our guide provides a useful overview of the safeguarding process. We’ll provide an easy to understand look at principles, policies, and workplace training requirements.


What is Safeguarding Children?

Safeguarding is defined as taking any action that prevents or stops harm from happening to a child. This collective responsibility ensures children have the freedom to live without fear, abuse, and neglect.

Some of the most important outcomes in safeguarding children are that:-

  • All children should be protected from all forms of abuse.
  • Children should feel safe in their environment and with their carers.
  • The development and overall well-being of children is a priority.
  • Safeguarding children means stepping in when a child is no longer safe, essentially protecting them from harm.
  • All children deserve to have the best outcomes possible.

Child Safeguarding Legislation – The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 was designed to ensure all people in need of support could receive it. The Act sets out the legal requirements that Local Authorities must follow to keep people safe from abuse.

It modernised the pre-existing legislation which was very much outdated and in need of a fresh approach. The Care Act 2014 was created with the aim that everyone would have access to the same opportunities.


The 6 Principles of Safeguarding

Within The Care Act are the 6 principles of safeguarding. These are designed to make sure all needs are met.

1. Accountability

You must know what your duties and roles are within the safeguarding protocols. This can be achieved through regular training and reading the relevant legislation. It’s also about knowing how to deal with any disclosures made in your presence. Professionals looking after children must have a safeguarding certificate.

2. Empowerment

It’s vital that victims of abuse or neglect feel that they are in control of what follows. Supporting the individual, being open and honest with them, helps to make them feel a part of the process. Safeguarding training courses help you understand some of the situations you might be faced with and how best to offer your support. It’s important the individual feels no pressure at any point as they may clam up and not talk.

3. Partnership

An integral part of safeguarding involves working in partnership with other professionals when appropriate. Being able to have that partnership is absolutely key to ensuring the individual is getting the best possible outcomes. It’s important to understand your role when it comes to dealing with disclosures and with who you need to open up the lines of communication.

4. Prevention

When you learn to recognise the signs of potential abuse and neglect, you may prevent serious harm from occurring. With children, abuse isn’t always physical, ‘on the outside’ signs. Sometimes it’s noticing someone withdrawing from those around them or seeming very tired and hungry. Knowing these signs can save a life.

5. Proportionality

This principle is about knowing how to act accordingly, in light of the circumstances presented to you. It’s about not overreacting but also not taking action when you should. Sometimes an incident might be so severe that immediate and quick action is required to prevent serious injury. Other times, you may have a few niggly suspicions but nothing concrete. Both of these scenarios would be dealt with in very different ways.

6. Protection

Safeguarding means being there to protect those individuals who need it and who are at risk of harm. Everyone needs somewhere in their corner, offering them the help and support to ensure their well-being.


Who is Responsible for the Safeguarding of Children?

Everyone has responsibility for the safeguarding of children. Sadly though, there are instances when people are not kept safe so it’s important other professionals recognise their role.

Anyone responsible for other children or adults in environments such as childcare settings, schools, colleges, and the workplace should oversee their safeguarding obligations. It also falls onto the responsibility of professionals such as GPs, health visitors, and sports coaches. It’s very much a collective responsibility in which everyone plays a part.


How Do You Safeguard a Child?

To effectively safeguard a child, you must first understand all aspects of safeguarding. To do this, you need to complete a suitable safeguarding course that suits your job role and responsibilities. There are different levels when it comes to safeguarding training so ensure you select the most appropriate. By completing a course you will be equipped with the knowledge needed to safeguard children.


Safeguarding Training

There is a range of child safeguarding training courses that can be undertaken based on your job role. Below are some of the training you can complete to further your safeguarding knowledge:

Introduction to Safeguarding Children Training Course (Level 1)

This is a basic level of training that helps you understand the signs of abuse and the responsibilities you have.

It suits nursery staff, childminding assistants, people who work with families, and sports coaches. If you are solely responsible for a child while they are in your care then you will require a higher level of training than this offers.

Advanced Safeguarding Children (Level 2)

This course is a step up from Level 1 and is aimed at childcare workers who take on a more direct role in the setting.

It will suit nursery room leaders, childminding assistants, preschool staff, and anyone else who frequently cares for children. It helps you understand the correct procedures for reporting abuse.

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (Level 3)

This is the highest level of safeguarding and is suited to childcare workers who manage other staff or work alone.

Childminders, for example, need to complete this course as they are the designated safeguarding leader. It will extend your knowledge beyond the basics and will cover different safeguarding scenarios and how to deal with them correctly. It also underpins the importance of working closely with other professionals to achieve the best outcomes for the child.

Preventing Radicalism and Extremism Training

In these times, childcare professionals must understand the principles of Prevent Duty and have a clear understanding of counter-terrorism legislation.

It helps you put together a suitable policy and risk assessment so that you know what to do when you suspect a child is being radicalised.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Training

Any suspicions of FGM legally have to be reported to the police so this course helps you understand the signs and effects of FGM.

It’s an appropriate course for all child carers to participate in an FGM awareness course as it’s sadly something occurring more and more frequently.

Online Safety

In this day and age where technology and the internet play a huge role in children’s lives, it’s sensible to understand how to keep children safe online.

The online world offers so many opportunities for children that can support their learning. However, there is a dark side to the internet. By doing this course you will feel confident in how best to protect children when they are online.


Safeguarding Policies

Once you’ve completed the necessary safeguarding training, the next step will be to produce a robust safeguarding policy.

This policy will contain a lot of information and the use of subheadings will help make sure you have everything covered. There is a great deal to learn when it comes to safeguarding, so a policy will ensure you have everything covered. Any organisation that deals with children is required to have a safeguarding policy.


Types of Harm

Knowing your safeguarding duties and understanding the protocols involved will help protect children from harm. There are different types of harm that children can be subjected to so it’s important to be aware of them all.

  • Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the most obvious one that people think of when it comes to types of harm. It can include actions such as hitting, punching, burning, overdosing, restraining, and other similar punishments.

  • Emotional Abuse

A trickier one to identify, particularly in children, is emotional abuse. This covers a wide range of actions such as bullying, racism, withdrawing the child from society, belittling, name-calling, and threatening behaviour.

  • Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing children to participate in sexual encounters, whether or not they understand what is happening. It includes sexual activities such as touching, penetration, kissing, and other forms of physical contact. Sexual abuse also involves getting children to watch pornography.

  • Neglect

Neglect means the needs of the child are not being met and it is affecting their overall well-being and development. It can include not dressing appropriately for the weather, failure to treat illnesses or ailments such as head lice, not taking care of the child’s personal hygiene needs, and not being there for the child physically or emotionally.

  • Online Bullying

In this modern day where children are incredibly technically minded, this does open them up to the risk of cyber bullying. This can display itself in different ways such as name-calling, being racist, hate campaigns, and humiliation.

  • Radicalisation

When children are encouraged to become involved in extremist ideologies, they are being radicalised. This can lead to the child becoming involved in terrorism and other politically based activities. Children deserve to be brought up on British Values, radical extremists actively oppose these.


What is the Difference Between Child Safeguarding & Child Protection?

Child safeguarding is a very broad topic that covers many subjects and procedures. Child protection is part of this safeguarding process and is about protecting the child from all harm. Protection involves agencies such as the police, social workers,  local authorities, and GPs.

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