Everyone working with children and young adults have a professional responsibility to safeguard and protect their welfare
Everyone working with children and young adults have a professional responsibility to safeguard and protect their welfare. In fact, every child can be hurt or abused, regardless of age, gender, religion, cultural background or ethnicity. All organisations that work with or are in contact with children should have safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure that every child is protected from harm.
In this regard, child protection serves to protect specific children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm and for this reason, is a central part of safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare. In other words, safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a broader concept that goes beyond child protection. Safeguarding refers to all the things that we do and the policies and procedures we have that help keep children safe. Child protection is part of this definition and refers to all the welfare activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or to protect individual children identified as either suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. This could be as a result of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Child protection also involves preventing impairment of a child’s health and development by ensuring children are raised in positive circumstances by providing a safe and caring environment.
Safeguarding legislation and government guidance says that safeguarding children and young people means that every child has the right to stay safe from maltreatment, neglect, violence and sexual exploitation, accidental injury and death, bullying and discrimination, crime and anti-social behaviour in and out of school, have security, stability and are cared for. Child protection is an essential part of the safeguarding program. In practice this means ensuring that people who work with children and young adults have an appropriate knowledge and understanding of child protection policies and procedures; maintain health and safety, respect diversity and equal opportunity; work for a good partnership with parents and keep a positive behaviour.
Safeguarding the welfare of children is clearly paramount and involves a variety of activities and policies, including promoting and protecting their interests, and keeping them safe. The term “child protection” is increasingly being replaced by that of “safeguarding”.
Establishing, implementing and following good safeguarding policies and procedures including safe recruitment, means that children and young adults are safe from people who might pose their welfare a risk. Parents and carers, practitioners and school staff, who fail to protect or care for the children they are looking after could then be taken to court and the child abused or at risk may be removed from the home and placed into care. Safeguarding children and young people means ensuring that they have the right opportunities to achieve their full potential and they are protected from neglect, abuse (physical, emotional or sexual) and exploitation from anyone including family members, friends and professionals working or come into contact with them.