Any employer who works with children or vulnerable adults must safeguard them from harm, abuse or neglect. This blog explores the concept of safeguarding, the types of abuse to be aware of and how safeguarding duties impact employers.

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding refers to protecting a vulnerable individual’s health, well-being and human rights. All organisations within the UK are responsible for protecting the welfare and physical and mental health of the children and at-risk adults under their care. This protection involves preventing abuse and neglect and ensuring individuals live in safe and caring environments. 

What Types of Harm Must Employers Be Aware of?

Safeguarding covers a broad spectrum of potential harms, including:

  • Physical Abuse: This involves inflicting physical harm through hitting, beating, burning or physically hurting the individual in any way.
  • Emotional Abuse: Emotional or psychological abuse includes actions and words that cause emotional or psychological distress.
  • Sexual Abuse: This encompasses any illegal sexual activities imposed on an individual.
  • Neglect: Failing to provide necessary care, support or guidance leads to an individual’s unmet basic needs.
  • Financial abuse involves illegal or unauthorised use of a person’s property, money or other valuables.
  • Institutional Abuse: Systematic mistreatment of people within a care setting, including neglect and poor care standards.

The Impact of Safeguarding on Employers

Employers are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of children and vulnerable adults under their care. Individuals working in healthcare, caregiving services, charitable organisations, educational institutions and other professions involving vulnerable individuals must understand and fulfil their safeguarding duties. Duties for employers include implementing strong policies, fostering a vigilant culture and providing thorough staff training. 

Legislations Regarding Safeguarding

Children Act 2004

This act provides a legislative framework for the protection and welfare of children. It outlines the duties and responsibilities of local authorities and other agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Care Act 2014

This act is focused on adults in need of care and support, outlining the responsibilities of local authorities to safeguard adults from abuse or neglect. It places a duty on local authorities to promote the well-being of individuals and protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect.

The Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 is a crucial piece of UK legislation incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights rights into domestic British law. It ensures that individuals can defend their rights in UK courts and that public bodies, including the government, treat everyone equally, with fairness, dignity and respect.

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019

“Keeping Children Safe in Education” is statutory guidance for schools and colleges which outlines the legal duties that must be followed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under 18 in educational settings.

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018

“Working Together to Safeguard Children” is a guidance document that sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote children’s and young people’s welfare.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 aims to improve support for looked-after children, children in need and children with safeguarding concerns. It also introduces measures to strengthen social work regulation, provide better mental health support for children and enhance the safety and well-being of children in social care.

Legal Responsibilities

Employers hold significant legal responsibilities in safeguarding. They must:

  • Adhere to legal requirements outlined in legislation
  • Implement robust policies and procedures specifically designed to safeguard children and vulnerable adults
  • Foster a culture of vigilance and awareness within the organisation regarding signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • Provide comprehensive training to all staff members on recognising and responding to safeguarding concerns
  • Conduct thorough background checks and screening processes for employees and volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults
  • Establish clear reporting mechanisms for staff to raise safeguarding concerns promptly and confidentially
  • Collaborate with relevant agencies and authorities to address safeguarding issues effectively and ensure appropriate interventions
  • Regularly review and update safeguarding policies and practices to reflect changing legislation, best practices and emerging risks
  • Prioritise the welfare and protection of children and vulnerable adults in all organisational decisions and activities
  • Promote a culture of transparency, accountability and continuous improvement in safeguarding practices

Training and Awareness for Staff Members

Employers must provide comprehensive safeguarding training to their staff. Training should be relevant to their role and equip them with the necessary skills to identify and prevent signs of abuse, neglect and harm in whichever vulnerable group they work with. 

Safeguarding courses are scaled to specific job roles, responsibilities and legal obligations. Targeted training ensures that employees receive instruction relevant to their duties, enabling them to effectively fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities and meet legal requirements.


Safeguarding helps shield vulnerable individuals from harm, abuse, or neglect. This blog discussed what safeguarding is, the types of harm it addresses and its impact on employers. 

It is a fundamental responsibility for all employers and requires a comprehensive approach, including compliance, implementing robust policies and providing employees with appropriate training.



Leave A Reply Cancel Reply

Exit mobile version