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Explain the term ‘Safeguarding’ and your own role and responsibilities in safeguarding individuals

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

What does the term ‘safeguarding’ mean?

Safeguarding refers to the protection of individuals from abuse and neglect and includes both proactive and reactive measures.

Your responsibilities relating to safeguarding

As an adult care worker, you need a thorough understanding of your responsibilities for safeguarding vulnerable adults, but it is also important to have an awareness of how to respond to suspected child abuse and neglect.

Promote rights and education

Reactive measures are used when abuse or neglect has occurred or is alleged and are concerned with the process of handling this sensitively and swiftly. Proactive measures focus on prevention and reducing the likelihood of abuse occurring. This can include promoting the rights of the individuals that you support and educating them about abuse and neglect so they are better able to protect themselves.

Protect individuals from harm

It is your responsibility to protect the individuals that you work with from harm – this could be harm that is caused by both doing something and doing nothing. For example, if an individual unexpectedly faints and you attempt to perform CPR without proper training, you could cause them harm. Similarly, if you do nothing, that could also cause them harm. Shouting for assistance, looking for life signs and contacting emergency services would all be better options.

Report concerns

As well as ensuring that your actions (or omissions) do not cause harm, you also have a duty to report any suspicions of abuse that you have, even if that means passing on information that may be considered confidential. For example, if an individual alleges that they have been abused but ask you to keep it a secret, you should inform them that it is your duty to pass this information on.

If you feel that the procedure may be too lengthy and action is required immediately or that you don’t believe your concerns are being treated seriously, you should pass the information onto the police or social services.

Training/Know the signs and symptoms of abuse

Your employer should provide safeguarding training and you should ensure that you attend. This will help you to understand how to handle any safeguarding concerns you have as well as teaching you about the signs and symptoms of abuse that you should look out for in your day-to-day practice.

Follow agreed ways of working

You should be familiar with your organisation’s agreed ways of working, policies and procedures and follow them to ensure that you work in a way that is safe and legal.

Your organisation’s safeguarding policy will specify the process for reporting suspicions of abuse. This will usually mean reporting to your manager or a nominated individual(s) responsible for safeguarding and making a written account of your concerns.