Safeguarding means to protect a person’s wellbeing, human rights and health so that they can live in a way that is free from neglect, harm or abuse.
Safeguarding is fundamental to a high-quality level of health and social care.
For individuals who use care services, safeguarding includes, for children: to protect them from things that are bad for their development or that is bad for their health, making sure that they can grow up in an environment that promotes safe, effective care. For adults: to have organisations and people working together to prevent any risk of neglect or abuse and to stop it from happening, by promoting the individual’s wellbeing and by respecting that individuals feeling, beliefs, views and wishes. By protecting the individuals’ rights, which are to live a way that is free of abuse, neglect and that is safe.
Safeguarding has six principles, they were introduced by the Department of Health in 2011 and now forms a part of the Care Act and they are relevant for all health and care environments.
The six principles are:
EMPOWERMENT: people being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and give informed consent
PREVENTION: it is better to take action before harm occurs
PROPORTIONALITY: the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
PROTECTION: support and representation for those in greatest need
PARTNERSHIP: local solutions through services working with their communities – communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse
ACCOUNTABILITY: and transparency in safeguarding practice
All of us are responsible for safeguarding.
Protection is a central part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. If an individual has been shown to be at risk or suffering or harm as a result of abuse, protection is the process used to stop further risk or suffering from occurring. For example, to restrict or limit a person being able to do something, stopping a child to cross the road for example, so that they come to no harm.