Safeguarding Children is of importance to everyone, not just those working directly with children. All of our staff have a responsibility to ensure children are protected from harm; this includes preventing impairment of children’s health and development. There may be times when the stresses and strains of family life lead to difficulty parenting, and as a result children can be neglected or injured.
The Children Acts of 1989 and 2004 gave all children (0-18years) rights, parents’ responsibilities and a duty of ALL agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
People who abuse children come from all walks of life, there is no gender, class, race or religious barrier, they may work with children, and sometimes children harm other children. Very little abuse is caused by strangers- but a stranger can quickly become a friend to a child and their family.
Parental behaviours such as substance misuse, mental health, domestic abuse, impact on the child’s well being and can lead to significant harm.
Abuse falls into four categories however there is often an overlap and emotional harm is a feature in all other categories of abuse.
• Physical – A range of injuries which may involve hitting, shaking, poisoning burning, drowning which causes physical harm including Fabricated and Induced Illness;
• Emotional – Persistent emotional ill treatment of a child including witnessing abuse of others eg Domestic Abuse;
• Sexual – Exposing or involving children in a sexual activity;
• Neglect – Persistent failure to meet an unborn, child or young person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, including substance misuse in pregnancy;
Why is safeguarding children important to the Trust?
Health professionals and organisations have a key role to play in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The general principles they should apply are:
• to aim to ensure that all affected children receive appropriate and timely preventative and therapeutic interventions;
• those professionals who work directly with children should ensure that safeguarding and promoting their welfare forms an integral part of all stages of the care they offer;
• those professionals who come into contact with children, parents and carers in the course of their work also need to be aware of their safeguarding responsibilities; and
• ensuring that all health professionals can recognise risk factors and contribute to reviews, enquiries and child protection plans, as well as planning support for children and providing ongoing promotional and preventative support through proactive work.
All health professionals working directly with children and young people should ensure that safeguarding and promoting their welfare forms an integral part of all elements of the care they offer.
(Working Together to Safeguard Children - DCSF March 2010)