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Why it’s everyone’s responsibility to safeguard our most vulnerable citizens

Why it’s everyone’s responsibility to safeguard our most vulnerable citizens

| Sue Evans, our Chief Executive

Safeguarding vulnerable people is everybody’s responsibility – that’s the main message from us.

The Welsh Safeguarding Procedures, which came into effect in 2020, set out the roles and responsibilities of professionals to make sure they safeguard children and adults who are at risk of harm, abuse or neglect.

Social services play a vital role in keeping vulnerable children and adults safe from harm, abuse and neglect.

Every so often, we see upsetting reports in the media where there’s been a serious failure to protect our vulnerable citizens from harm, abuse or neglect.

Thankfully those incidences are very rare – and when they do occur, social services and the other agencies involved will look at the lessons learned to minimise the risk of such incidents happening again.

But what we don’t see reported in the media is all the many times where social services teams across Wales have done their jobs well and where they’ve stepped in to keep children and adults safe from harm, abuse and neglect.

While our social services teams have a crucial role in keeping the children and adults in our communities safe, we all have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

It’s important we all know about and are alert to the signs of abuse or neglect, and know who to contact if we’re worried about a child or adult who may be at risk.

Harm and abuse can take different forms. This can include:

  • physical abuse
  • emotional or psychological abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • financial abuse
  • neglect, which is the failure to meet a person’s basic needs and which is likely to cause harm to the person’s health, well-being or development.

Last month, the Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan launched a new campaign as part of National Safeguarding Week.

The national campaign urges people to speak up if they’re worried a child or vulnerable adult may be at risk of harm, abuse or neglect and instead of thinking ‘What if I’m wrong?’, to think ‘What if I’m right?’.

The campaign encourages anyone who’s worried to contact their local social services department (you can find contact details on your local council’s website) or to call 101.

Last month, we launched the ‘National safeguarding learning, development and training framework’ for professionals who work with vulnerable children and adults.

The framework was created in partnership with colleagues from across social services, social care, education, health and the emergency services in Wales, and sets out standards for the amount and types of safeguarding training professionals need.

The standards were the first of their kind in Wales and aim to make sure that professionals across Wales have consistent levels and types of safeguarding training.

If you’d like to learn more about safeguarding, the signs to look out for and what to do if you’re worried a child or adult is at risk, you can complete our online training module.

You can find the module, which was developed in-line with the Wales Safeguarding Procedures on our website.

You can also find out more by visiting the Wales Safeguarding Procedures website.