What is Safeguarding Training & Why is it so Important?
If your organisation works with or around children and vulnerable adults, having strict safeguarding policies and procedures in place should be one of your top priorities. Everyone is entitled to live their lives free from harm, and (regardless of age, gender, religion or ethnicity) it’s important that all children and vulnerable adults can feel safe and protected.
Schools, charities, hospitals and care homes, along with other sectors, must all be invested in safeguarding. To ensure the safety of everyone under your care, it’s important that you adequately train your employees so they can carry out their safeguarding duties competently.
What is Safeguarding?
The term safeguarding is used to define actions taken to protect vulnerable groups from harm. This harm might come from adults or other children and, as someone working closely with vulnerable groups, it’s important you understand what safeguarding is and why it’s important.
Legally, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Therefore, safeguarding children is about protecting all those under 18 from harm.
When safeguarding a child you:
- Protect them from abuse, maltreatment and exploitation.
- Prevent anything from harming their health or development.
- Ensure they can grow up under safe and effective care.
- Take action to ensure they have the best outcomes in life.
Part of the safeguarding process is identifying and protecting children suffering from, or likely to suffer from, significant harm.
All children are covered by child protection and safeguarding guidance and legislation.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
A vulnerable adult is defined as a person who, for any reason, may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. Safeguarding vulnerable adults involves reducing or preventing the risk of significant harm from neglect or abuse, while also supporting people to maintain control of their own lives.
This does not only refer to adults who lack capacity. Adults with full capacity can still be considered vulnerable if they are unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from significant harm.
When safeguarding a vulnerable adult you:
- Ensure they can live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
- Empower them by encouraging them to make their own decisions and provide informed consent.
- Prevent the risk of abuse or neglect, and stop it from occurring.
- Promote their well-being and take their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account.
Why is Safeguarding Important?
Working with vulnerable groups is very rewarding, but it comes with many responsibilities. Everyone has a right to live their lives free from fear, abuse and neglect and, if you work with or around vulnerable groups, you have a responsibility to protect their safety and basic human rights.
Missing warning signs could have serious consequences and leave vulnerable individuals open to abuse, neglect and exploitation. Poor safeguarding or a lack of safeguarding within your organisation could result in:
- Cases of abuse and neglect being missed.
- An increase in the cases or severity of abuse and neglect if they go unnoticed.
- Vulnerable adults and children being treated with a lack of compassion or empathy.
- Increased confusion and distress for individuals who are suffering but do not know who to talk to. This could adversely impact their behaviour, so you might notice more outbursts.
- Loss of dignity and liberty for vulnerable adults.
Benefits of Safeguarding Training
Safeguarding training is vital when working with vulnerable groups, as it helps to ensure that your employees can carry out their duties knowledgeably and safely.
There are many benefits of safeguarding training, including helping you to:
- Understand which individuals are at risk of harm or are particularly vulnerable. Safeguarding training will provide you with the skills to distinguish those under your care who may be at an increased risk of mental or physical abuse or neglect.
- Recognise tell-tale signs of neglect, discomfort and abuse. As well as being able to recognise those who are at an increased risk, safeguarding training will also detail the tell-tale signs of neglect, abuse and discomfort. This will help you and your employees monitor those under your care and identify any situations where an individual might be experiencing neglect, abuse or discomfort. For example, some signs of abuse in both adults and children include becoming quiet and withdrawn, looking dirty or unkempt and not wanting to be left alone or with particular people. Our Signs of Abuse in Children article can provide greater insight about recognising signs of abuse and neglect.
- Effectively communicate with vulnerable groups. Safeguarding training will develop your ability to communicate with vulnerable groups about their needs and well-being, as well as giving you the skills needed to talk about abuse and neglect. It will also increase your confidence when making decisions on important topics relating to the care of a vulnerable child or adult.
- Know how to correctly record and report instances of abuse and neglect. Safeguarding training will teach you how you should go about recording and reporting instances, or suspected instances, of abuse and neglect. In the event that you suspect abuse or a case of abuse is disclosed to you, you must understand the correct procedures you should follow, including who you should report your concern to. Safeguarding training will provide you with this knowledge and will give you the knowledge needed to meet your legal requirements and protect vulnerable people under your care.
- Increase trust in your organisation. By ensuring all your employees have appropriate safeguarding training, you’ll demonstrate that you’re invested in the safety and well-being of all those under your care, which will instil greater trust in you.
What to Read Next:
- Guide to Safeguarding Children in Sport
- What are the 6 Principles of the Care Act?
- Best Practice for Home Health Care
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