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

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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

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.

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.

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.

As well as ensuring that your actions (or omissions) do not cause harm, you also have 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.

You organisation’s safeguarding policy will specify the process for reporting suspicions of safeguarding. This will usually mean reporting to your manager or a nominated individual(s) responsible for safeguarding.

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.