Safeguarding children and young people

Safeguarding children and young people is everybody’s responsibility. It should be a concern of the whole community and all public services, not just ones providing directly to children and young people. As professionals, we have a duty to ensure that children and young people are protected while they are in our care and that where we have other concerns outside school, these are investigated fully. School policies and procedures need to be such that parents and governors are aware of them and that staff are fully trained with regard to safeguarding.

Schools will need to consider and include in their policies: a) Children’s physical safety and security on the premises and on off-site visits b) Children’s safety when in home environment

c) E-safety and security when using the Internet
d) Staff awareness and training
e) Monitoring and record keeping
f) Partnership and involvement with other agencies.

Children and young adults are vulnerable and easily susceptible to serious harm if appropriate action for their safety is not taken.

They do not yet have the physical and mental ability developed enough to care for themselves and need appropriate care and protection from adults around them. Health professionals and social care workers have a duty of care towards children under their care and as such they should do everything they can to keep the children and young adults safe from harm. The younger the child is, the more vigilant the carer should be and the greater the duty of care is.

This should continue until the child has the ability to anticipate and deal with potential dangers, has a more robust immune system, has empathy for others, and has communication skills developed enough to be able to articulate harm to themselves carried out by others.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) (UNCRC) is a international human rights treaty which sets out the rights of all children to be treated equally. Under the treaty there is a list of rights to which every child under the age of 18 should be entitled. These include the full range of human rights-civil, cultural, economic, social and political- through articles such as: the right to services such as education and health care

the right to grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding the right to develop their personalities, abilities and talents to their own potential the right to special protection measures and assistance

Protection during these times ensures Children are not victims of abuse or discrimination. It helps to ensure Children’s welfare and their well being is protected. It helps to prevent allegations of abuse and inappropriate behaviour. It helps everyone to be aware of allegations and what that may mean. It can reassure parents and carers that this is an issue the setting takes seriously. The statement reinforces all the procedures a setting has in place and the processes it has for reporting/sharing concerns and information.

Stating a setting protects children during care routines promotes as well as reinforces the practices, policies and procedures it has in place and enables best practice and the sharing of best practice. All children have the right to live life free from emotional and physical harm UNCRC 19 All children have the right to protection from harmful drugs 33 All children have the right to privacy 16

Children have the right to be live life free from sexual harm 34 Children have the right to be protected from all forms of negative exploitation 36 All Children have the right for adults to do the best they can for them 3 Article 37 states no one is allowed to punish or degrade a child. Article 39 would suggest it is a responsibility of settings to have policies, procedures, practices and an environment in place that assists children in exercising their right to help if hurt, neglected or mistreated.

2.3 – Explain what is meant by partnership working in the context of safeguarding.

As there are a number of different agencies which may be involved when working in the context of safeguarding, it is important that they communicate and work in partnership to ensure the safety and protection of children. Each area of expertise may need to have an input in any one case and each should be considered when discussing issues around safeguarding. A working party or ‘team around the child’ meeting may be called involving a number of agencies in order to discuss how to move forward in the best interests of the child.

Different organisations involved in safeguarding are: social services, the NSPCC, health visitors, GPs, the probation service, the police, schools, the psychology service. When it comes to safeguarding, children are best protected when professionals know what is required of them and how they work together. This means that everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe which involves identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action. To carry this out effectively professionals need to work in partnership with each other.

Unfortunately, the importance of doing this has come about from professionals failing to protect Victoria Climbie who died in 2000. Her death was preventable as doctors, police and social workers all came into contact with her and had concerns. However, the doctors who treated her discharged her to her abusers care and admitted they assumed the social services would investigate. The social workers were described as incompetent and Victoria’s social worker felt unsupported by her supervisor and described her colleagues as conflicted and chaotic.

The police too failed to fully investigate Victoria’s home (for fear of catching scabies) although close family members and Victoria’s child-minder raised their concerns. Following this case lessons were learnt and recommendations put into place to try and prevent another tragedy where successful partnership working for safeguarding should have stepped in earlier to avoid this abuse.

To provide adequate safeguarding measures it helps to have a complete ‘picture’ of the child. Partnership working means each professional, whether it’s the police, NHS, educations departments, NSPCC or social workers, if they have concerns to do with safeguarding, welfare child protection, they should work with the other agencies in contact with that child. Each of these professionals may have one snapshot and a concern that may, on its own, not necessary need intervention. By working in partnership and sharing information the bigger picture evolves and, if each profession has a different concern, together the dots can be joined and actually realize if is something wrong with that child.

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