The definition of safeguarding is “the process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.”1
TASK 1 – legislation, guidelines, policies & procedures for safeguarding children
Every element of a childcare professional’s job is important but the safety and wellbeing are paramount. If this element fails then the children are potentially at risk. There are a number of legislation, guidelines, policies and procedures that are in place and are constantly being updated and amended. Laws are passed through Westminster in the UK and are called Statutory Law. Courts will then use this to determine how the offender has “broken the law” named Case Law. Due to the complexity of legislation, cases will sometimes uncover amendments that need to be made. Law is then split into two areas; Civil Law and Criminal Law. Civil law covers Public Law (systems and processes, such as CRB checks) and Private Law (family issues such as divorce and contact). Below are some examples of Legislation that has been put in place to protect children.
Constant implementation of legislation, guidelines, polices, procedures and structures are needed to ensure they actually safeguard children. Unfortunately despite the production of legislation, guidelines and documents, children’s services do not always work together and sadly this resulted in the serious harm or death of some children. The cases resulted in reviews which have had an impact on how we safeguard children today.
Children and Young Persons Act 1933 – this is one of the first pieces of legislation that came into force for protecting children. Certain parts of this act are still in force today and the ‘Schedule One Offences’ are still referred to.
Schedule One Offences (not exhaustive)
Cruelty to persons under 16 – Children and Young Persons Act 1933 s.1 & c. 12 Child abduction by connected person – Child Abduction Act 1984 s.1 1984 c. 37 Child sex offence committed by person under 18 – Sexual Offences Act 2003 s. 13 Abuse of trust: sexual activity with a child – Sexual Offences Act 2003 s. 16
The Children Act 1989 then came into effect due to changes in family life, local authorities becoming involved and adapting to technological advances. This act details what the local authorities and high courts should do to protect the welfare of children. The Act started from the principle that the primary responsibility for the upbringing of children rests with families. For most children, the best way to grow up is to remain with their own family however there were some concerns about professional services that in turn led to the Cleveland inquiry into child abuse and the deaths of children such as Jasmine Beckford, Kimberley Carlile and Doreen Aston while in their parents’ care. The Act was implemented to help families and local authorities ‘work together’ to enable parents to still ‘care for’ their children and the state ‘support and protect’ children where parents were flagging concern or ‘in need’. Part of this act defines children in need as ‘children who are unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health and development if they are disabled or if their health and development is likely to be significantly impaired without the provision of services by local authority.’2 This act was revised in 2004. In 1999 the Working Together To Safeguard Children document was produced in accordance to The Childrens Act 1989 and 2004. The document was devised to make all childcare professionals understand their responsibilities and duties in safeguarding children as set out in legislation and linked regulations and guidance and to protect them from abuse or neglect. This was...