Effective safeguarding is underpinned by two key principles:
- safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility; for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part
- professionals and organisations must work in partnership to protect children and adults in need.
two key safeguarding principles are underpinned by the RCN’s Principles of
These eight principles encourage a proactive and empowering stance that is desirable in the prevention of safeguarding issues.
As a nurse, midwife, health visitor or HCA you are responsible for safeguarding those in your care and you must respond to any safeguarding concerns.
Here are the key stages to follow:
- Identify safeguarding concerns.
- Report the concerns – for most nurses, midwives, health visitors and HCAs this will be in conjunction with partner agencies and you should use organisational and local policies.
- Participate in enquiries, debriefing and (where appropriate) in developing a protection plan.
- Reflect on the outcomes and learning.
You will need to check the relevant statutory guidance and legislation for the country where you work.
For more information on female genital mutilation (FGM) and published RCN guidance please visit FGM.
The role of the designated nurse for safeguarding children and young people in England
The Royal College of Nursing has published this position statement which clarifies the role and responsibilities of the Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children. The need for clarification is essential given the significant loss of expertise nationally and the subsequent challenge to effective succession planning. The role provides safeguarding, child protection expertise and leadership throughout health and multiagency partnerships. The role is distinct and should not be combined with other designated nurse roles or functions, for example vulnerable adults.
- SCIE, 4 July 2019. Carrie Wilson Harrop talks through 5 key transition points to help young people succeed in moving from child to adult services
- RCPCH, 25 March 2019. Wales has taken the next step towards protecting children’s’ rights by introducing legislation to end the physical punishment of children
- Department of Health and Social Care, 21 February 2019. Working together to safeguard children. Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
- House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, 31 January 2019. Impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health
- RCN, 20 August 2018. RCN launches new guidance to help safeguard adults at risk of abuse
Professional lead for safeguarding:
Safeguarding children and young people
The RCN's professional lead for safeguarding children and young people is Fiona Smith
This intercollegiate document has been designed to guide professionals and the teams they work with to identify the competencies they need in order to support individuals to receive personalised and culturally sensitive safeguarding. Dawne Garrett, the professional lead for safeguarding, has also written a blog to accompany the guidance.
To protect children and young people from harm, and help improve their wellbeing, all health care staff must have the competencies to recognise child maltreatment, opportunities to improve childhood wellbeing, and to take effective action as appropriate to their role. This intercollegiate document provides a clear framework which identifies the competencies required for all health care staff.