Health and Social Care

What is Safeguarding in Health and Social Care?

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Whether public or private, safeguarding is a legal obligation for all health and social care organisations. It is the act of protecting children and vulnerable adults from harm and extending their welfare. Young children and vulnerable adults who are not aware of specific rules and regulations of society can be the target of violent acts.

Other than this, older people with memory issues can also become the victim of the abusers. This is why the government introduced Safeguarding, to protect people who can not defend themselves.

Safeguarding is an essential element; however, its significance enhances when combined with health and social care. In this blog, we will discuss all the vital aspects of Safeguarding to provide you with the extensive knowledge of Safeguarding in Health and Social Care.

So, if you are curious to know ‘What is Safeguarding in Health and Social Care’, reading this blog will serve your purpose.

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What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the act of protecting children, young people, and adults from abuse (physical, mental and psychological), neglect or danger. According to Wikipedia, “Safeguarding is a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland to denote measures to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals, which allow people — especially children, young people and vulnerable adults — to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.” In simple words, safeguarding means protecting every right of the citizens to ensure their overall safety.

Why is Safeguarding important?

Safeguarding ensures the safety of vulnerable people who are not in a place to defend themselves. Any mental, physical or emotional abuse can severely affect a person. Abuse can affect self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, and focus. For example, children who have seen domestic abuse or been victims of abuse are affected sharply, which, in the future, results in poorer mental health.

In addition, children with poor mental health grow up with several mental illnesses, which affect them and the people they are associated within their daily lives. Protecting the children and adults at risk from abuse and ensuring that their human rights are being taken care of is why safeguarding is essential.

Safeguarding in health and social care means identifying and protecting children and adults at risk from health and social issues. The goal of safeguarding is maintaining citizens’ right to live in good health and be socially secure.

Safeguarding and the law

The government introduced the safeguarding laws to ensure safety in workplaces, educational institutions and places where adults and children are at risk. Its laws are the pieces of legislation created to protect citizens and restore their rights.

In the Care Act 2014, the UK Government set out clear legislation safeguarding adults. The legislation also states how local authorities and other parts of the system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. Everyone working in close contact with children and vulnerable adults will be required to complete safeguarding training. And it is a general rule.

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The Children Act 1989

The significant aspect of The Children Act 1986 is that while making decisions about a child’s upbringing, the kid’s welfare comes first. However, every effort should keep the child’s home and family connections intact. It tells the local governments and courts the responsibility to ensure children’s well-being.

The Children Act 2004

The Children Act 2004 doesn’t replace the 1989 Act. Instead, it amended the previous Act. This legislation tries to strengthen and combine children’s services, promote early intervention to produce positive outcomes for children and their families, provide strong leadership, and bring together diverse specialists in multidisciplinary teams.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 is crucial legislation to consider when recruiting new staff members and volunteers. The UK government passed this Act to help avoid harm or risk by preventing people deemed unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults.

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The Care Act 2014

“Although primarily aimed at adults, the Care Act 2014 also applies to children and young people. This Act encourages a person-centred approach when safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. By following the principles, you’ll place a child’s well-being and needs at the forefront of protecting processes.” (Inside Government)

What is safeguarding in health and social care?

Safeguarding protects children and adults at risk from danger or maltreatment. Safeguarding also means identifying the risks to children and vulnerable adults. Protecting children and preventing harm to adults is the primary goal of safeguarding.

A country should provide its citizens with proper health and social care facilities. However, many citizens are not aware of their rights, which is why the government decided to introduce Safeguarding to protect the health and social rights of the citizens.

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Safeguarding examples in health and social care

Safeguarding in health and social care means protecting the health, rights and overall well-being of citizens, allowing them to live free from any abuse. In social care, safeguarding protects civilians from social issues like bullying, self-harm, forced marriage, grooming, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and extremism.

An adult may be at risk for many reasons, including mental health problems, physical disabilities, health problems, cognitive disabilities and sight and hearing impairment. Identifying the risk and taking proper steps are what safeguarding health is.

Regarding taking proper steps, you should, for instance, learn the basics of safeguarding adults and spot different types of harm. Understand vulnerable people’s rights, notice signs if something’s wrong, and be ready to act if abuse happens.

Examples 1:

A person with limited or no verbal communication is vulnerable. The care worker should have good contact with the vulnerable and be watchful for physical injuries and sudden changes in emotions. The physical wounds may include pain, bruises, and infections. Emotional changes may consist of fear, anxiety, anger and distress. Health-related changes may have changes in appetite and weight and declining health.
As a care worker, your responsibility in this situation should be to spend time building trust with the vulnerable person. You should observe and record their changes accordingly. In addition, you should plan to rescue the risk for the vulnerable such as increased observations and restrictions on the specific visitor.

Example 2:

Social abuses can cause emotional distress in people and result in self-harm in the future. Complicated relationships with friends and other people, not doing well in school, difficulties at work, and being bullied at home, school, or work are examples of social abuse.
As a care worker, you can help the abused person create a strong support network within the family in this situation. Also, ensure that no one can isolate the abused person from the circle.

6 Principles of safeguarding in health and social care

The six fundamental principles of safeguarding in health and social care set out by the Care Act 2014 include-

1 Empowerment

The empowerment principle is to support vulnerable adults to be sure of making their own decisions and giving informed consent regarding their care.

2 Prevention

To follow the preventative principle, you must be proactive in preventing and safeguarding risks. One of the most critical concepts of care is prevention.

For example, a vulnerable individual may suffer long-term physical or psychological harm even after being released from neglect and abuse. To avoid long-term damage, you must safeguard vulnerable adults ahead of time.

3 Proportionality

Proportionality ensures to utilise the preventative measures or response to a safeguarding issue in the most discreet way possible. For example, consider the vulnerable person’s needs level, as it doesn’t apply a one-size-fits-all answer.

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4 Protection

The protection principle supports and represents those in greatest need. For example, it aims to provide service users with clear, straightforward information about how to recognise signs of abuse and when they should come to you for help. Finally, respond immediately to concerns and take action to liberate a vulnerable person from a dangerous situation.

5 Partnership

This principle includes partnering with local services and communities to help prevent, detect, and report suspected neglect and abuse cases. When multiple authorities recognise a safeguarding issue and submit information, management can react quickly and confidently.

6 Accountability

Be wholly transparent about, and take responsibility for all the safeguarding practices you use to support vulnerable people.

To discover how to become a safeguarding officer and understand their duties, responsibilities, qualifications, skills, and training, take a close look at our blog. It has all this information in one spot.

Safeguarding training

Safeguarding training lays down the proper steps to take, empowering your employees by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to report abuse and neglect towards them properly. During safeguarding training, you will learn the indications and indicators of abuse and neglect.

As someone who works with children and vulnerable adults, you must be aware of various symptoms and indicators of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and other forms of maltreatment.

For instance, if you’re responsible for health and social care safety, you need to learn how to protect children. This means understanding the rules, knowing the different ways harm can happen, and recognising signs of abuse. If something seems wrong, you should also know how to find out who’s causing the harm and report it correctly. Taking a Level 3 Safeguarding Children Course can really help you understand these important things better.

But before you take safeguarding training, you need to get a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check done. According to Carecheck, employers do DBS checks on employees and volunteers who will work with children and vulnerable persons. The procedure ensures that a potential employee’s background is checked against criminal records and other databases, such as the Police National Computer (PNC).

A disclosure certificate is issued, certifying that the individual can operate in regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults. The DBS superseded the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The check enables users to make informed hiring decisions and avoid hiring someone who is prohibited from working with vulnerable groups.

Skills you need to take part in Safeguarding

If you want to help those who need extra care and protection through Safeguarding, you need to excel in some skills. Such as-

  • Strong communication skill
  • Counselling skills
  • Ability to stay focussed and calm
  • Active listening skills
  • Ability to be understanding
  • Flexibility
  • Observant

On top of that, the duty of care is like a promise to keep adults and children safe from harm, and anyone in charge of their protection must know and fulfil this promise. Visit our informative blog explaining how duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals.

To learn extensively about Safeguarding, you can take an online Safeguarding course and accelerate your career.


Safeguarding enables the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults to ensure that they are safe under any circumstances. Some people cannot do what needs to be done to protect their human rights, and others do not know their human rights. Therefore, everyone working in the care sector must ensure that children and vulnerable adults’ rights are fulfilled and that they are living a life free of abuse and maltreatment.

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