Safeguarding in the Early Years

March 18, 2019 12:56 pm
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If you work in Early Years it is important you comply with safeguarding measures and understand fully what safeguarding is, understand the different types of abuse and your role in terms of safeguarding.

In this article we are going to talk about:

  1. What is safeguarding? – definition and types of abuse.
  2. A short timeline of how legislation for child safeguarding was formed and what guidance documents are essential for any early years setting.
  3. Safeguarding and Welfare – what early years settings can do to enforce it.
  4. Laura Henry – Policy and Procedures: Safeguarding
  1. What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is defined as using appropriate measures to protect individuals, especially children and young people, from harm such as abuse and neglect. This includes all procedures designed to prevent harm to a child.

Child Protection is part of the safeguarding process, protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes the child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.

In order to fully understand safeguarding and the role it plays, it is important to know what constitutes abuse. It can be verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, financial or even neglect and can lead to the victim being hurt, upset, frightened or manipulated into doing something they know is wrong or do not want to do. Another issue is that the person subjected to the abuse may find it hard to report the matter.

Types of abuse all practitioners should be aware of and understand are:

  • Domestic abuse – Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse.
  • Sexual abuse – A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn’t have to be physical contact and it can happen online. Sometimes the child won’t understand that what’s happening to them is abuse.
  • Neglect – Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs and is the most common form of child abuse. A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care.
  • Physical abuse – Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child, causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts. It isn’t accidental.
  • Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development.
  • Child sexual exploitation – Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, money or affection as a result of performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them.
  • FGM – Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It’s also known as female circumcision or cutting.
  • Child trafficking – Child trafficking and modern slavery are child abuse. Children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold.

More information about these types of abuse and others can be found in our Preventing Child Abuse booklet and online at the NSPCC.

Click next page to read about the timeline of child safeguarding…

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