Safeguarding means putting processes in place to ensure that vulnerable people are not abused in any way, including verbally or physically. For more information on what safeguarding is read our guide.
Safeguarding is often separated into two distinct groups – safeguarding children and safeguarding adults. But if your role involves safeguarding, it is likely that it brings you in touch with more people than just the individuals you may be working with – other adults and children that may also need safeguarding. So, how can you make sure you are safeguarding everyone?
Let's consider an example. Imagine a social worker, Jade, who works closely with a child, Ross. But lately, when she visits his house, she notices signs of domestic abuse against the mother, as well as abuse of an elder.
Overall, it is important for practitioners to always ensure the safety and security of anyone who they meet as part of their role – it is part of their responsibility. Therefore, even if a practitioner’s main focus is on a certain member of a family, they need to be aware of any issues within that family and ensure action is taken or a referral is made to safeguard the entire family.
To achieve this, it is important to have effective crossover between different safeguarding areas and make sure there is joint working between different agencies.
Outside of the people you are supporting, you must know how to assess who may be vulnerable and why. Once you are aware of this, you can be aware of anything relating to them that may be cause for concern. For example, does anyone have mental health issues? Or is there a young teenager mother? Or has someone recently left, or is trying to leave, an abusive relationship? Is anyone frail or disabled? Have substance misuse problems? Or have a lack of mental awareness, such as dementia?
Unfortunately, the list could go on, but being aware of the ways in which someone could be vulnerable is a good step toward safeguarding everyone.
Though safeguarding anyone – whether children or adults – has the same overarching aim to protect from harm or damage whilst taking appropriate actions, there are two fundamental differences between the two groups that need to be understood, and which will come in use when considering safeguarding everyone.
An important difference between safeguarding children and adults is the types of abuse you must be aware of. Though the types of abuse you need to look out for in relation to children do crossover into adults, the types of abuse for adults is much longer, including abuse such as financial abuse, organisational abuse and self-neglect.
We have covered types of abuse in more detail here: 10 types of abuse you should be aware of
The law for child protection differs from the law for adult protection. There is no piece of law that is specifically for ‘safeguarding everyone’ but there are different pieces of legislation for safeguarding children and adults.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 is the key one in safeguarding children, whereas The Care Act 2014 is the key one in safeguarding adults. But others worth of note are:
The following articles explore the The Care Act 2014 and Working Together 2018 in more detail:
We have hopefully provided insight into the importance of safeguarding everyone. If you wish to find out more or want to enquire after any of our safeguarding courses and how we can help you or your team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .