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What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is a word that is often banded around but not everyone understands what it means. 

There are lots of different definitions of Safeguarding available and basically, they come down to the same thing, making sure that people are safe in all aspects of life. 

Safeguarding isn’t just aimed at looking at children it also encompasses adults.  This can be any adult whether they are vulnerable, an employee or someone you know in the street.

So, what are you looking to safeguard against?  To put in simple terms, you are looking for ABUSE.

Abuse, again, like safeguarding, has many different definitions but for the purpose of this blog it is classified as the act of causing improper actions towards children and adults in the following ways:

Physical: Actual harm to another person’s body.   Bruises or other injuries such as cigarette burns that can’t be explained or explanations that seem unlikely.  Frequent trips to the GP or A&E for ‘mishaps’ can but causes for concern.

Sexual: In children this may be then acting out inappropriate play for their age or talking about sex in a manner that trigger a red flag.  In adults it may be something in a conversation either coded or straight out.

Emotional: This is often the victim being told they are worthless or useless constantly. It could be in the form of depriving the victim of something important either for fun or malice.  Making fun of someone constantly for being different or the way they look or speak is emotional abuse.

Fall out from Domestic disharmony:  If someone is in a toxic environment due to others around them it can influence the way that someone feels or behaves.  Constantly around violence from people you live with can have a very negative effect on those who are also there. Children learn from the examples to see so watching violence all the time will imprint into them that this is normal behaviour.

Financial:  Financial abuse mainly relates to adults.  This could be someone else is either managing the victim’s money and is using for purposes that it is not meant for. This could be difficult to spot, and all vulnerable adults need their support to be providing whoever is overseeing them with receipts for everything that is spent.

Discrimination: Treating someone differently because of their age, gender, race, disability etc. For example… not providing someone with culturally appropriate meals, inappropriate nicknames are forms of abuse.

Organisational: Organisational abuse could be repeated incidents of poor practice or neglect within an organisation. Services that are based on the needs of the staff rather than people who use the service. Lack of privacy for personal care.

Self-neglect: Someone who is not easting, washing or dressing properly. Turning up in the same clothes for days, looking dirty and unkempt are all signs of self-neglect.

These are just some of the more common classifications of abuse that we should be looking out for especially in the care sector.

As Forever Savvy works with vulnerable adults we must keep our eyes open for any signs of all of these classifications.  Our Job coaches and Managers are given training in safeguarding on a regular basis.  We don’t only look out for signs with our clients but staff as well as non-vulnerable adults can’t always spot the signs of abuse against them.

So, what do you do if you suspect that someone is being abused in some way?

Your company should have a safeguarding procedure that you should follow and if in doubt speak to your manager and record in writing your conversation.

If it is life threatening, you should alert the police.

If it is a child or a vulnerable person you should report to child or adult services of the local council, and they will deal with it. 

You can always call NSPCC at any time if it involves a child.

Alerting someone is not being a ‘snitch’ or ‘busy body’, you could potential be saving someone’s life.

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