Safeguarding children and young people is everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding children is defined as: – protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children’s health and development, ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safer and effective care and take action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Safeguarding children means protecting children from abuse. One such case in England is that of Victoria cubie who was just 8 years – a victim of appalling and sustained abuse who died in 2000. Victoria’s death is closely similar to Kennedy Matthews who have been let down by services before he died. Some of the concerns are as follows: poor communication and information sharing between professionals and agencies, inadequate training and support for staff and failure to listen to children.
Identifying a vulnerable child is important; here are some indications:
• Young children, particularly infants and children who have language and learning disabilities.
• Family/social factors including poverty, homelessness and domestic violence.
• Looked after children and those who are held in criminal justice settings.
Signs of abuse are as follows:
• Physical abuse -bite marks, bruises, burns and scalds, fractured or broken bones.
• Emotional abuse – child is very quiet, withdrawn, does not communicate, anxious, always crying, aggressive, deliberate self-harm.
• Sexual abuse – withdrawn, does not trust anyone, has bruises or marks on private area, does not want to be kept alone with a family member.
• Neglect – looks untidy, unkept hair, unkept clothes, underweight or overweight.