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Safeguarding the Welfare of Children and Young People in the UK

Safeguarding the welfare of children and young people is a high priority in the UK. This includes children in their home, childcare environment, schools, colleges, children and youth organisations and places where children and young people go for leisure.

The following are the primary questions and answers that every professional who works with children and young people should know.

TDA22-1.1 identify the current legislation, guidelines, policies and procedures for safeguarding the welfare of children and young people, including e-safety

The term safeguarding refers to protecting children and young people from both physical and mental harm that can impact their quality of life. Additionally, ensuring the welfare of children involves actions such as protecting children’s basic rights, providing them with opportunities, and promoting their interests.

National, local, and international organizations and governments came up with legislations, guidelines, and policies and procedures for children and young people because children are vulnerable to threats and risks and they rely on adults and government protection to meet their basic needs such as protection from harm, food, shelter, and education.

  • The Children Act of 2004. 

This legislation is the updated version of The Children Act of 1989 and it includes 5 principles. Based on the Act, every child is entitled to:

–       Stay safe

–       Be healthy

–       Make a positive contribution

–       Have the right to the economic well-being

–       Achieve and enjoy

  • Every Child Matters

It is an initiative started by the UK government. The project partners with various organizations and institutions across the UK to support children and young people despite their economic and cultural backgrounds. The organization is in partnership with schools, children’s centers, social work services, health services, and child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

  • The United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1989)

The UNCRC is an international human rights treaty that is designed to protect the rights of children across the globe. The treaty has 54 articles and each article states the children’s rights and how national and local governments protect those rights. Based on the convention, children have the following fundamental rights:

–       Right to life, survival, and protection

–       Right to education to fulfill their potential

–       Right to protection from abuse, violence, and neglect

–       Right to be under the guidance of parents and have a relationship with them.

–       Right to voice their opinions and be listened to

e-Safety

With the development of the internet and mobile devices, more and more young people started using social media and chat platforms without the guidance of adults. The situation is risky considering the fact children can be manipulated and can fall into the scams of cybercriminals.

In some cases, children also become the victims of cyberbullying. Therefore, educators and others who work with children have to comply with the policies and procedures set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) to ensure that electronic devices that are accessed by children are protected with safe security tools such as antivirus applications and filters.

TDA22-1.2 Describe the roles of different agencies involved in safeguarding the welfare of children and young people.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards.

To avoid these negative circumstances, organizations like Local Safeguarding Children Boards work with local facilities and advice the staff and educators on how to educate children so they will be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge on safety and security.

Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) guidelines and Criminal Record Bureau (CRB)

ISA is an important organization that has a set of rules and guidelines that are designed to protect the wellbeing of children and young people. The organization is also responsible to monitor compliance with the set of rules and regulations.

Additionally, ISA prevents unqualified or unfit people from working with young people and children. CRB is also an important organization as it checks the records of people who already working with children or applying for a position in that field.

Legal and Criminal Services

The police are responsible for protecting the general public, including children and young people, from possible harm and threats. On the other hand, probation officers are responsible for the rehabilitation of some offenders and they make sure that those offenders won’t pose threat to children in the community.

Health Services and Social Services

Health visitors, General Practitioners, and Hospital staff are responsible for ensuring the health of children through regular check-ups and home visits. Also, they are responsible for reporting bodily injuries to the social service, or the legal and criminal services if they suspect that children are victims of abuse or violence.

TDA22-3.1 Identify the characteristics of different types of child abuse

There are various types of child abuse and all of them can leave a life-long physical or mental impact on children. Different types of child abuse are:

–       Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the primary type of child abuse and its signs are usually characterized by visible bruises, scars, burns, bone fractures, and sore muscles. Generally speaking, physical abuse takes place when someone deliberately causes harm to someone else to inflict pain.

–       Neglect

Neglect is also a form of abuse. Because when parents are not available for the needs of their children or leave them under poor living conditions, it is known as neglect. Some of the notable signs of child neglect are poor hygiene, weight loss, lack of appropriate clothing or school supplies, and poor growth.

–       Emotional Abuse

Shouting at a child, not giving affection or kindness, making jokes, and bullying are the primary factors of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse because emotional abuse can impact a child’s mental state. More specifically, emotionally abused children have low self-esteem, suffer from depression, experience social withdrawal, and have inappropriate emotional development.

–       Sexual Abuse 

Having a sexual relationship with a child or touching a child in a sexual manner are considered sexual abuse. Some of the signs of child abuse are bruises in the genital area, blood in his or her underwear, trouble walking or sitting, or pain or itching.

TDA22-3.2 Describe the risks and possible consequences for children and young people using the internet, mobile phones and other technologies

Although the internet created conveniences in people’s lives, it can be risky for children even for adults if some of the effective safety measures are not followed.

The direct risks of using the internet, mobile phones, and other technologies are:

–       Children and young people expose themselves to strangers. Some of those people may have ill intentions and may lure children to do some reckless actions or even fatal mistakes.

–       Children and young people can gain an access to inappropriate content that may impact the mental development of children. Some of the files can be violent videos, persuasive videos to join cults, pornographic, and other unsafe materials.

–       Paedophiles can also use the internet to find their victims.

–       Mobile phones can grant too much independence to young people and children, during which they may build a relationship with the wrong people without the guidance of their parents.

According to SafeKids.co.uk, sometimes children may share too much sensitive information about themselves and their families. For instance, sharing a home address, security codes, or info about possible long trips may be used by thieves and criminals to break into the home.

Additionally, children can join hate and cult websites where they can be brainwashed and programmed to do illegal activities. Therefore parents, educators, and other people who work with children and young people should monitor the activities of children to avoid negative consequences.

Cyberbullying is a new term that started with the development of the internet and mobile devices. Because when children access social media sites, they expose themselves to cyberbullies. In most cases, cyberbullies send out disturbing messaging degrading their victims, which makes the victims feel embarrassed, depressed, or afraid. Overall, cyberbullying can impact the mentality of children and young people by negatively impacting their psychological well-being and self-esteem.

TDA22-3.3 Describe actions to take in response to evidence or concerns that a child or young person has been abused, harmed (including self harm) or bullied, or may be at risk of harm, abuse or bullying

It is an ethical responsibility of every individual to report child abuse and bullying to appropriate people as those actions may save children from physical and mental harm.

Some of the actions people can take in response to child abuse, bullying, or risk of harm:

Reporting

Reporting is the best method to resolve the issue and deter the threat. Because ordinary people are not in a professional position to address child abuse or bullying. Thus, they need to report it to the relevant agencies and let the professionals deal with it. Teachers, on the other hand, can intervene and resolve issues at the lower levels by advising their students and preventing them from doing reckless things.

If a bullying case is detected, individuals can report it to parents so adults can avoid further bullying incidents. There is also a National Bullying Helpline that operates in the UK since 2003. By calling their helpline, individuals can get valuable assistance to resolve bullying-related issues.

Intervening

Intervening is also important if there is no enough time to report and wait for its results. In some cases, children can come face to face with the threat and there won’t be time to wait for other’s assistance. In that case, an individual can get involved and prevent the threat from happening. For instance, if an individual sees a child trying to cross a busy road from outside of the crossing line, they may keep that child so they won’t be in a fatal situation.

Advising

Teachers can give advice or talk to their students if any of the students show the symptoms of bullying or other risks. Especially, teachers should recommend some of the internet-related safety measures, so the students won’t put themselves in risky situations.

TDA22-3.4 Describe the actions to take in response to concerns that a colleague may be:

Every individual who works with children must comply with safeguarding policies and regulations. That means as a professional, every teacher or child practitioner has the responsibility to protect children’s safety and improve their wellbeing. If I notice that any of my colleagues:

–    failing to comply with safeguarding procedures

–    harming, abusing, or bullying a child or young person

 I would report him or her to a senior teacher, supervisor, or to a person who is responsible for safeguarding. Reporting should be done without any delay because waiting for a long time may pose a greater threat to the wellbeing of a child. Concisely, children should be the main priority as they are unable to protect themselves from threats and harm. Additionally, If I do not want to discuss my colleague with senior members, I would directly contact local social services or Ofsted.

It is unacceptable to try to protect the reputation of a colleague when there is clear evidence that he or she is abusing or bullying a child or young person. Firstly, it is not ethical because children are extremely vulnerable and they are unable to defend themselves. Secondly, it is not professional to close your eyes when you see unjust actions.

TDA22-3.5 Describe the principles and boundaries of confidentiality, and when to share information.

Protecting children’s sensitive information is an essential principle in child care services and other educational services. In other words, children’s personal information should not be made available to the general public since that information can cause serious risks or make children vulnerable to threats. Parents can legally give a child’s information. If a childcare worker needs to access that information they must:

Get formal permission from a parent with a signature. Only in the cases when professionals feel the direct threat to children, they can break the confidentiality agreements and access the children’s information and contact relevant agencies.

Generally, childcare workers or teachers are not in a position to share children’s or young people’s sensitive information with others. If someone approaches them requesting personal information, the professional has to notify their supervisor about that request or call the parent to discuss that matter.

Again, there will be times when it is essential to break confidentiality agreements, but there must be clear and undeniable evidence that children’s wellbeing and safety are at risk, and professionals need to deter those risks and threats.

TDA22-2.1 Identify the signs and symptoms of common childhood illnesses

Young children are susceptible to some illnesses since their immune system is not fully developed yet. Symptoms of common childhood illnesses are indicated below:

The common cold is one of the most common childhood illnesses. Children can catch a cold by playing under the cold weather for an extended period or consuming ice-cold drinking.

Symptoms of the common cold are:

–    Runny nose

–    Consistent coughing and sneezing

–    Nasal congestion

–    Watery eyes

–    Fever

Symptoms of Flu (Influenza):

–    Elevated fever that goes over 37.8°C

–    Headache

–    Muscle pain and body aches

–    Sore throat, coughing, and runny nose

–    Fatigue and loss of energy

Symptoms of Chickenpox:

–    Itchy rash

–    Flu-like symptoms

–    Loss of appetite

–    Headache

–    High temperature

–    Muscle pain

Symptoms of Viral Infections:

–    Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

–    Sneezing

–    Rash

–    Swollen lymph nodes

–    Unexplained weight loss

–    Swollen tonsils

TDA22-2.2 Describe the actions to take when children or young people are ill or injured

If a child feels unwell or shows symptoms of illness, educators have to contact the school physician. Every school has at least one certified medical specialist who can provide first aid. For instance, if a student has a fever, he or she has to be taken to the medical office where the first aid provider evaluates the situation and runs a check-up. Then, she prescribes medication or other necessary steps.

In the case of injury, similar steps can be applied. For some reason, if a medical specialist is not present in the facility, then teachers can provide first aid themselves. For example, if a child bumps her head, a cold compression or ice-pack can be applied. If it is cut or graze, the spots can be washed with clean water and covered with plaster.

For more serious injuries or illnesses, the teacher will need to contact parents and notify the supervisor. In the case of injury, an accident form must be filled out, and one copy should stay at the school and the other one needs to be sent home.

TDA22-2.3 Identify circumstances when children and young people might require urgent medical attention

Children and young people may require urgent medical attention in the following cases:

–    Serious injuries such as swallowing objects, falling, or serious cuts.

–    High fever. Increasing body temperature can be a symptom of serious infection. If the fever does not go down with first aid, the child may need to be sent to a medical facility

–    Consistent and worsening symptoms of any illness. If a child suffers from serious symptoms and his or her symptoms are not getting any better, they must be referred to medical specialists.

–  Sings of viral infection. Currently, the world is experiencing a serious pandemic. If a child shows the symptoms of Covid or any other viral disease, they need to be given urgent medical attention to protect the health and health of other children.

TDA22-2.4 Describe the actions to take in response to emergency situations, including:

Teachers should have the skills and knowledge to take crucial steps during any emergency situation to protect children and young people.

–      Fires

If smoke or any sign of fire is detected, a teacher must assess the situation. If the fire is small enough to control, then the teacher can use a fire extinguisher. If the fire is going out of control, the teacher must raise the fire alarm and take the children outside through either the emergency route or the safest route. Teachers need to make sure that no child is left behind and should be the last person to leave the classroom.

Teachers should not let any children go back to the facility until it is completely safe. If it is safe, the teacher can check the toilets and other areas to make sure no student was left behind. It is also important to keep the children calm so they won’t be traumatized by the incident.

–      security incidents

Security incidents may include a stranger coming to the school premises. If a teacher notices a stranger on the school premises, she or he must approach the person and ask for their identity. Then, the teacher needs to know their reasons for being there. If an individual or group of people are there for illegitimate reasons, the teacher must ask them to leave, even if it is a parent.

If an individual is not complying with instructions, the teacher can seek assistance from a colleague or supervisor. If the situation gets worse and the stranger demonstrates aggressive behavior, the teacher should call the emergency number.

–      missing children or young people

In the case of missing children or young people, a teacher must start searches immediately. First, they need to check the nearby classrooms and tell the incident to other teachers. Then, they should check the toilets and other indoor areas. If a child is not found indoors, then the search must continue outdoors. The teacher with the assistance of colleagues must search school premises.

If a child is not found in the school territory, then the teacher should notify the school administration, who will take the responsibility and escalate the problem to local police. Parents will be also notified about the situation.

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of FactPros.com
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
To get tailored writing or to work with, contact at [email protected]

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