Safeguarding is the term that has replaced the term Child Protection. It includes promoting children’s safety and welfare as well as protecting children when abuse happens. It has only been developed in the past 50 years, and the need for improved legislation has been highlighted by cases such as Maria Colwell (1973) and Victoria Climbie (2000) as these cases showed weaknesses in procedures. The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (1989) is an international human rights treaty that grants all children a comprehensive set of rights. The convention has 54 articles and it sets out in detail what every child needs to have for a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood. Article 19 states children’s rights to be ‘protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse’. The UK signed up to the treaty in 1990 and all UN states apart from the United States and Somalia have now formally approved the convention and are legally bound to implement legislation which supports each of the articles.
The Children’s Act 1989 identifies the responsibilities of parents and professionals who must work to ensure the safety of the child; it refers to safeguarding in sections 47 and 17. Section 47 states that the local authority has a duty to investigate when ‘they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm’. Section 147 states that services must be put into place by local authorities and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need’.
The Education Act 2002 requires school governing bodies, local education authorities and further education institutions to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The Children Act 2004 provides the legal framework for Every Child Matters which was the government’s response to Victoria Climbie inquiry...
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