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Key principles to ensure child safety

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 11 May 2023, 13:00 SAST
Hlengiwe Zwane photo

Child protection can be defined as the process of safeguarding a child who has been identified as suffering or likely to suffer from harm as a result of any form of abuse and neglect. It is crucial that the protection of children is given the utmost priority in society. Every child has the right to be protected from violence, exploitation, and abuse, regardless of the circumstances.

When working with children, it is important to have a clear understanding of local laws regarding child protection and your responsibilities in safeguarding children. Anyone who works with children has a responsibility to ensure their safety. There are six principles to safeguarding children that must be kept in mind:

  1. Accountability: If you suspect that a child, adolescent, or vulnerable adult may be a victim of abuse or mistreatment, you must report it. Transparency is crucial when it comes to protecting vulnerable individuals, and as a responsible party, you are legally obliged to keep them safe.

  2. Empowerment: Victims of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment need to feel in control of their situation. Working with these individuals requires sensitivity, encouragement, and support. You must ensure that they feel empowered to make their own decisions and that they are not coerced or pressured into giving their consent.

  3. Partnership: Collaboration with local government, agencies, and organisations in your community that can help spot and report cases of abuse or neglect is critical. It is important to form the right partnerships when reporting safety concerns and to ensure that any confidential information is handled appropriately.

  4. Prevention: Knowing all the indications and indicators of abuse and neglect is crucial in recognising when something isn’t right and preventing harm from occurring. This puts you in a better position to report concerns about an individual’s well-being “just in time” and to protect vulnerable adults, children, and young people.

  5. Proportionality: When safeguarding issues arise, it is important to disclose concerns appropriately. For example, if you notice a suspicious bruise on an individual once without any other signs of abuse, it may be better to keep a record of what you witnessed or heard from that person. This will be useful in case the signs of possible abuse continue.

  6. Protection: Supporting and advocating for victims of abuse and neglect is crucial. Being there to support them and speak up on their behalf is the most appropriate way to assist them in staying safe from violence.

Safeguarding is intended to protect everyone from harm, whether they are children or vulnerable adults, and wherever they may be exposed to danger. Keep these principles in mind when faced with any questionable situations.

To learn more about child protection empowerment visit the courage community. 

View a child potection emergency handbook.

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