Why Is Safeguarding Important?
If your business works with children and/or vulnerable adults, strict safeguarding policies must be in place. Every person should live their lives without harm, no matter the age, gender, ethnicity or religion. It’s vital that every vulnerable child and adult is kept safe.
Organisations such as schools, hospitals, care homes and charities will have safeguarding procedures in place. Other types of workplaces must also have a plan in place to ensure all staff are looked after appropriately. For every person to be safe under your care, employees must be trained adequately so they can carry out safeguarding duties as expected.
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding is a vital process that protects children and adults from harm, abuse, and neglect. The safety and wellbeing of adults and children is important as they come into contact with the services that schools and workplaces provide.
It is the duty of every staff member in a school and a workplace to safeguard all staff and children and provide the right services to those who are unable to protect themselves from abuse, harm and neglect.
Common Types of Abuse
- Sick people are often open to neglect because they’re unable to take care of themselves.
- Mentally disabled individuals can be manipulated into doing things as their disability makes them unable to refuse.
- Children aren’t aware of social norms – especially young children – which can lead them to thinking that certain behaviours are normal.
- Elderly people have memory issues which leaves them open to manipulation.
Importance of Safeguarding
For many people, working in vulnerable groups is incredibly rewarding. While some go in with heroism in mind, any role that involves the most vulnerable members of society comes with a heap of responsibilities. It is up to those members of staff to ensure everyone’s right to live without fear of abuse and neglect is upheld. You are also responsible for protecting their basic human rights.
You must be vigilant for potential signs of abuse and neglect because missing them would be catastrophic. If an organisation has poor safeguarding policies or no safeguarding in place could lead to:
- Abuse and neglect being missed.
- An increase in abuse cases.
- Vulnerable people not being treated with compassion or empathy.
- Increased confusion and distress for suffering individuals because they have no one to turn to.
- A complete loss of dignity and autonomy for vulnerable adults.
A child is legally any individual under the age of 18. Children must be protected from harm under safeguarding policies.
The importance of safeguarding children is highlighted by 2020 statistics released by the Office of National Statistics. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, an estimated one in five adults experienced a form of abuse as a child before the age of 16.
To safeguard a child, you must:
- Protect them from abuse, exploitation and mistreatment.
- Stop anything harming their health and development.
- Make sure they group up in a safe and caring environment.
- Take necessary action so the child gets the best outcomes in life.
Children’s Safeguarding Policy
To complete the above, a Child Safeguarding Policy must be put in place. Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 states that all organisations must have a Child Safeguarding Policy in place and ensure all employees are checked for a criminal record.
This 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 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.
Staff should undertake regular safeguarding training to ensure they fully understand the latest threats to the welfare of children and young people.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
Vulnerable adults are defined as people who are unable to take care of protecting themselves against harm or exploitation for any reason. When safeguarding adults, this involves reducing and preventing the risk of harm, neglect or abuse alongside supporting them to maintain their own lives.
While most would consider vulnerable adults to be those who lack capacity, adults with full capacity can also be considered as vulnerable as well. This is when they are unable to take care or protect themselves from harm.
An example of a vulnerable adult is an elderly person and according to the World Health Organization, one in six people of 60 or above experience some form of abuse and neglect.
To safeguard vulnerable adults you must:
- Ensure the person can live in safety, away from abuse and neglect.
- Encourage individuals to make their own choices and provide informed consent.
- Prevent any risk of abuse or neglect and stop it from happening.
- Promote the wellbeing of the person and take their thoughts, feelings, wishes and beliefs into account.
DBS Checks and Safeguarding
DBS checks are an important element of safeguarding in the workplace.
What is a DBS Check?
A DBS check is carried out by employers on members of staff and volunteers who will work with children and vulnerable adults. The process ensures that the potential employee is vetted against criminal records and other sources, including the Police National Computer (PNC). Anyone who has been arrested for an offence will be picked up by the PNC.
With a successful DBS check, a disclosure certificate is given, proving the individual in question can work in regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults.
The DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The check allows users to make safe decisions on who they employ and to avoid employing somebody who is barred from working with vulnerable groups.
Which type of DBS Check is needed?
While there are different levels of DBS check, for those working with or around vulnerable children or adults, an employer must apply for an enhanced DBS check. Individuals working as teachers, healthcare workers, taxi drivers, and dentists must have an enhanced DBS check with barring list.
Those working in industries such as warehouses or factories, offices based jobs, retail, hospitality or leisure, security, domestic housekeeping can apply for a basic DBS check.
Volunteers for community or faith groups must apply for a volunteer DBS check.
How long does a DBS check take?
62% of DBS checks take 24 hours through Care Check. 85% of checks are completed within five days.
How to apply for DBS Check
You can register your business with Care Check today with prices starting at £29 per application and £6 per volunteer application. With bulk pricing offers available, you can ensure staff are vetted appropriately and quickly with Care Check.