As a worker or a volunteer you are likely to encounter children during the course of your normal activities and you are in a unique position to be able to observe signs of abuse or neglect, or changes in behaviour which may indicate a child may be being abused or neglected.
We all have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, until they are safe and well. This part of our website provides up to date information and links to assist workers and volunteers to improve the safety and wellbeing of children in the City and is for anyone whose work brings them into contact with children and families, including those who work in:
- early years
- social care
- education (including schools)
- the police
- adult services
This includes those volunteering or working in the statutory, voluntary or the independent sector and includes people whose job brings them into contact with children regularly or on an adhoc basis, such as members of the Emergency Services or faith organisations. It also includes a wide variety of people in a caring capacity, such as Foster Carers, Childminders or Youth Workers.
You should make sure that you are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect, that you question the behaviour of children and parents/carers and don’t necessarily take what you are told at face value. You should make sure you know where to turn to if you need to ask for help, and that you know how refer to children’s social care or to the police if you suspect that a child is at risk of harm or is immediate danger. You should be guided by the following key principles:
- Children have a right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect;
- Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility;
- It is better to help children as early as possible, before issues escalate and become more damaging; and
- Children and families are best supported and protected when there is a co- ordinated response from all relevant agencies.
This section aims to help you with that and also to give you all the information you need to understand the local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements that are in place in our area.
If you are worried a child is being abused or neglected please see this page. There are also some government guidelines and advice for practitioners. This states that all professionals should:
- Be alert to potential indicators of abuse or neglect;
- Be alert to the risks which individual abusers, or potential abusers, may pose to children;
- Share and help to analyse information so that an assessment can be made of the child’s needs and circumstances;
- Contribute to whatever actions are needed to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare;
- Take part in regularly reviewing the outcomes for the child against specific plans;
- Work co-operatively with parents, unless this is inconsistent with ensuring the child’s safety.