Recognising and responding to abuse is important. Acting on safeguarding concerns is vital. But did you know, how you or your organisation records concerns is also vital too?
When you do safeguarding well, you reduce the risk of harm and abuse for you, your team and all the children and adults you work with.
Wherever you work, as part of your duty of care, you should learn to recognise the signs and indicators of harm, abuse and neglect. Signs and indicators are not always obvious or clear. However, the more that staff know about possible warning signs, the more likely they are to recognise abuse and take action.
Communication is essential.
Organisation leaders must work hard to make sure everyone feels respected and safe so they are able to speak up. All staff and volunteers in your organisation are expected to respond and record to safeguarding concerns, disclosures or allegations, however minor they may seem. If you have any safeguarding concerns, at all you should respond, record them, and report them to the appropriate person, authority, or organisation.
The way that you or your organisation document and keep safeguarding records can make all the difference. Leaders need to develop procedures for everyone to follow. A clear safeguarding policy – accessible to everyone – can help. This can define the procedures for reporting, and ensure that they’re communicated and integrated across your organisation. That way, you can let all staff know their responsibilities in recognising, reporting and recording safeguarding issues.
Good safeguarding recording practice is essential, using secure systems to ensure duty of care, confidentiality and respect.
It is also important that you record the right kind of information in an impartial way. Record what you see and not what you feel. Remember to use the correct questioning technique if clarification of the concern is required– known as TED – Tell me, Explain to me, Describe to me, or when, where, what, how, who, why? A person’s demeanour, wellbeing and/or pattern of behaviour can give a tell-tale signs of abuse.
What to do next depends on the type of harm, level of risk and whether you are talking with a child or an adult.
Here are some general principles in responding to a safeguarding concern:
- Always make sure the person speaking up feels they’re being listened to and supported
- Don’t promise to keep information confidential between you and them. Refer to and follow your organisation’s policy and procedures to make sure information is only shared with people who need and have the right to know
- Ask for consent to share the information – if they refuse and you are still worried that they or someone else is at risk of significant harm, you cannot wait for this consent. You must share this information to the person responsible for safeguarding in your organisation
- Tell the designated safeguarding lead about any concerns so they can decide what the next steps are
- When you’ve been told something is wrong, don’t go straight to the person that’s been reported. Instead, tell the designated safeguarding lead
- Write a clear record of what you have been told, seen, or heard
You could create a safeguarding checklist guide to ensure that you receive all the information you need for accurate and useful reporting. Get your free safeguarding checklist download here >>
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