What is Safeguarding?
Do you work in the Safeguarding Industry? If you work closely with vulnerable groups, it’s vital that you understand what safeguarding is and why it is so important today. Safeguarding is defined under the Care Act 2014 and is used to confirm actions taken to protect vulnerable groups from harm, harm that could come from other children or adults.
Within the UK, safeguarding is a matter of protecting the well-being, health and rights of individuals. Helping them live free from the abuse, harm and neglect they may be experiencing now or have in the past.
Safeguarding is everyone’s business and as healthcare professionals, you have a responsibility to report concerns to the needed authority. So, it’s so important that all business leaders understand the importance of safeguarding and work together to ensure safe environments for all who are suffering.
But, why is Safeguarding Important?
Working with vulnerable groups is very rewarding but it does also come with a lot of responsibilities. You have the big responsibility to protect their safety and basic human rights from fear, abuse and neglect.
Ensuring you don’t miss warning signs when working with vulnerable adults or children is vital. Poor safeguarding or lack or safeguarding within your organisation can lead to many issues. What are they?
- The potential of cases of neglect or abuse being missed completely.
- An increase in the amount of cases or severity of abuse and neglect if it goes unnoticed.
- Vulnerable adults or children being treated with a lack of compassion or empathy.
- A loss of dignity and liberty for vulnerable adults and children.
- An increase in outbursts due to an adverse effect on individual’s behaviour who are suffering but don’t know who they can trust and talk to.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Children
Safeguarding children is all about protecting them from harm. Legally a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18 and so this process is all about identifying those under that age bracket and protecting them from significant harm.
What to do when safeguarding a child?
- Take necessary action to ensure their best outcomes in life.
- Prevent anything from harming their health or development.
- Protect them from maltreatment, abuse and exploitation.
- Ensure they can grow up under safe and effective care.
All children are covered by child protection and safeguarding guidance and legislation.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
Who is a vulnerable adult? They are defined as anyone, for any reason who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. This does not however only refer to adults who lack capacity, they are considered vulnerable if they aren’t able to take care of or protect themselves from harm.
What to do when safeguarding a vulnerable adult?
- Empower the adult by encouraging them to make their own decisions and provide informed consent.
- Prevent the risk of neglect or abuse and prevent/stop it from occurring.
- Ensure they can life in a safe environment, free from abuse and neglect.
- Promote their well-being and take their views, feelings, wishes and beliefs into account.
What are some types of abuse to look out for?
- Bullying and Cyberbullying – Bullying is a behaviour that hurts someone else. It includes name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone. It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or even online. It’s usually repeated over a period of time and can hurt both physically and emotionally. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place solely online. Unlike bullying in the real world, online bullying can follow a person wherever they go, via social networks, gaming and on the mobile phone.
- Neglect – Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a person’s basic needs and the most common form of abuse in children. A person might be left hungry or dirty, or without proper clothing, shelter, supervision or health care. This can put people in danger. And it can also have long term effects on their physical and mental wellbeing. It includes physical, educational, emotional and medical neglect.
- Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that involves the continual emotional mistreatment of someone. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate or ignore a person. Emotional abuse is often a part of other kinds of abuse, which means it can be difficult to spot the signsor tell the difference, though it can also happen on its own.
- Physical Abuse – Physical abuse is when someone hurts or harms a person on purpose. It includes hitting with hands or objects, slapping and punching, kicking, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning and scalding, biting and scratching, breaking bones, drowning. It’s important to remember that physical abuse is any way of intentionally causing physical harm to a person. It also includes making up the symptoms of an illness or causing someone to become unwell.
- Sexual Abuse – When a person is sexually abused, they’re forced or tricked into sexual activities. They might not understand that what’s happening is abuse or that it’s wrong. And they might be afraid to tell someone. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere – and it can happen in person or online.
What do the most recent statistics on abuse and safeguarding say?
According to the Safeguarding Adults report from NHS Digital, between 2017 & 2018 there were 394,655 reports of concerns of abuse were raised, this is an increase of 8.2% from the previous year.
The most common type of risk that was discovered was in Section 42 enquiries. This includes acts of Neglect and Acts of Omission, which accounted for 32.1% of risks. The most common location of the risk was the person’s own home at 43.5%. In 68.5% of Section 42 enquiries a risk was identified, and action was taken.
A section 42 safeguarding enquiry is often much more likely to occur with older people. The difference between them both is staggering, one in every 43 adults aged 85 and above, compared to one in every 862 adults aged 18-64.
What are the benefits to Safeguarding Training?
Ensuring you and your staff have had safeguarding training is vital when working with vulnerable groups. This will ensure your employees carry out their tasks safely and correctly.
There are so many benefits to safeguarding training, but what are they?
- It will teach you how you should go about recording/ reporting instances, or suspected instances, of abuse and neglect. It will also provide you with the knowledge needed to meet your legal requirements and protect those under your care.
- Having safeguarding training will provide you with the skills needed to distinguish those under your care who may potentially be at increased risk of mental or physical abuse or neglect.
- Ensuring you and your staff have this training will detail the signs of neglect, abuse and discomfort. This will help with the monitoring of those under your care and identify any situations where these individuals might be experiencing abuse.
- If you ensure all your employees have the appropriate safeguarding training you will show that you are invested in the safety and wellbeing of those under your care, increasing the trust in your company tenfold.
- It will also develop your ability to communicate well with these individuals about their needs and well-being, as well as giving you and your staff the skills needed to talk about the abuse and neglect. As well as increasing your confidence when making decisions on important topics relating to the care of the individual.
Check out our Safeguarding Courses if you are interested in receiving training for yourself or your company and get in contact with us!
Level 2 Award in Safeguarding and Protecting Children and Young People – https://www.lblskills.co.uk/training-courses/safeguarding-of-children-and-young-people/
Safeguarding Adults in Health and Social Care – https://www.lblskills.co.uk/training-courses/safeguarding-adults/