Safeguarding

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The occurrence of child abuse has been a concern for many years and the term ‘safeguarding’ is a procedure which is now used to protect children. The four factors of abuse was identified as, physical, neglect, sexual and emotional. This essay will explore safeguarding, concentrating on the sociological model of abuse, drawing closely on the views of Bowbly (1978) and Maslow (1975). It will examine the history of safeguarding through analysing previous cases. As well as identifying how influential they have been to current legislation and the contemporary issues in today's society. It will identify key strategies for multi-agency working and will determine the roles and responsibilities of practitioners as well as how child protection procedures are carried out by senior members of staff.

The late nineteenth century was a time of social deprivation, children would have been sent to work at a young age to provide for their commonly large families. Children were not valued or allowed a childhood this would in today society be viewed as neglect. Safeguarding was not introduced until 1889. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC,1889) was the first Act to give children value, although this Act was enforced later than the Animal Cruelty Act (1876). This demonstrates children were under-valued and animals in the eye of the law had more importance. The government introduced free contraception that was more readily available that positively impacted on families including, the number of children in each family, higher living standards and children were valued. The Children’s Act 1989 was introduced as the primary legislation concerning child welfare and it was at the same time the government promised all children the same rights by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

The re-occurrence of child abuse has been an issue for many years and still occurs today. There have been hundreds of child abuse cases within the UK over the past thirty years, however it could be argued that lessons have still not been learnt and stated in the Child Abuse Review by Harran, 2002 (pg.413) “Many of the findings of these inquiries (mid-80’s and early-90’s) seem to have had a limited impact on lessons learnt for future child protection policies.” Including the death of Maria Colwell, who at the age of seven died from multiple injuries inflicted by her step-father on 6th January 1973, this being shortly after she was returned to her birth mother from social care. This case was the first to raise communication issues and failure in the newly introduced social services department. In 1974 the Department of Health and Social Security issued guidelines to all local authorities on the management of ‘non-accidental injury to children’ (DHSS, 1974). Another serious case is one of Victoria Climbie, who at the age of eight years old her life came to a tragic end, this was February 2000. Victoria left her family home in Africa to live a better life by moving to England with her aunt and her aunt’s boyfriend Carl Manning. That flat in which Victoria became imprisoned was very small and living conditions was very poor. Victoria suffered months of abuse, which went un-noticed by child protection agencies. Victoria died from hypothermia; her body was found with128 injuries (Batty. D, 2001). This led to a major inquiry, which concluded that the agencies that were in place to protect Victoria had failed at every chance and in Lord Lamming’s Report 2003 he states, (pg.10) “the report is a vivid demonstration of poor practice within and between social services, the police...
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