Why is it so important to keep up to date with safeguarding training? 

safeguarding kids

Regular safeguarding training helps to ensure that all employees can carry out their duties knowledgeably and safely. Safeguarding training will help you to understand your role, how to identify risks, recognise and confidently respond to signs of abuse or neglect, and know what next steps you need to take, including how to escalate concerns.

However, there have been some shocking headlines and figures published by the NSPCC this last month including: 

  • 4.2 million children in the UK are living in poverty
  • Nearly half of children in care are living with a mental health disorder
  • 1 in 5 babies are not receiving their entitled health visitor check at one year old
  • Child cruelty crimes against children aged five and under continue to rise year-on-year with a 16% increase on pre-pandemic levels and more than 9,300 offences last year
  • NSPCC Helpline refers more than ten babies and young children to agencies such as police and social services every day because of neglect and physical abuse

The number of child cruelty crimes involving babies and young children has risen every year since before the pandemic, new data obtained by children’s charities reveals. 

Children aged five and under were involved in more than 9,300 crimes that include cruelty, assault, and neglect, recorded by police in England last year (2022/23). When comparing like-for-like data there was a 16% increase on pre-pandemic levels (2019/20). 

Meanwhile, more than two in five children (41%) referred by the NSPCC to authorities last year related to children aged five and under.  Half of those referrals were due to concerns about neglect or physical abuse, the equivalent of 11 a day.

The Children’s Charities Coalition, consisting of Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, National Children’s Bureau and the NSPCC, has released the figures to highlight that many babies and young children are not getting the safe, happy, and healthy start that can help to tackle inequalities and lay the foundations for a productive adult life. 

The coalition’s Children at the Table campaign calls for a commitment from party leaders ahead of the General Election for an ambitious cross-Government strategy to drive improvements for babies, children and young people growing up in the UK.

The charities want the next Government to show national leadership to prioritise children’s social care and invest in early intervention services to support families and protect babies and the youngest children who are at risk of abuse and neglect.

Experts widely acknowledge that the early years are a critical window of opportunity for physical, social and emotional development. Babies and young children need nurturing care and a safe home environment for their healthy development.

The youngest children are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect as they are entirely dependent on the adults around them. Pre-school children are also less visible to professionals like teachers who could recognise and report abuse.

Since the last General Election, the nation has been shocked by the tragic deaths of very young children including Star Hobson, Amina Faye-Johnson, Finley Boden, Jacob Lennon and many others.

A national review into the murders of Star Hobson and Arthur Labinjo-Hughes said their voices went unheard and along with the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care called for radical reform and investment in the systems that should keep children safe. 

The charities say investment in early intervention and family help services can give all children the chance to a safer, happier and healthier start and put an end to the spiral of expensive late intervention when families reach crisis point. This must include rebuilding the health visitor workforce, as the professionals responsible for safeguarding the youngest children, and expanding family hubs.

NSPCC Chief Executive Sir Peter Wanless, on behalf of the Children’s Charities Coalition, said:

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Since the last General Election, the pandemic and the tragic deaths of Star, Arthur and many others have exposed a system that is letting down the most vulnerable babies, children and young people across the country. 

“These stark figures show how the youngest babies and children are continuing to pay the price for a failure to prioritise family help and the early intervention services that can be a lifeline to families and protect children before they come to harm. 

“It is time for party leaders to turn this around by committing to invest the political will and national wealth urgently needed to ensure every child grows up with the chance to thrive. 

When it comes to safeguarding allegations and investigations into real safeguarding concerns, it is all too easy to take the views and opinions of adults involved more seriously than children. However, it vital to maintain child focus in any safeguarding concern. This should be an essential feature in every effective safeguarding procedure.

Nobody wants to be faced with the reality of having to respond to a real-life safeguarding concern, but when a situation arises, it is your professional duty to handle the situation calmly and in the correct manner. Safeguarding training will give you all the knowledge and confidence to know exactly who to contact in the event of a safeguarding emergency and, if necessary, how to make a referral to partner agencies.

Knowledge equals power when it comes to employing confident safeguarding strategies.

Safeguarding training can quite literally mean the difference between life and death for children at risk. It is without a doubt the most important training you will receive as a professional, and the knowledge you take from safeguarding training courses will stay with you for life.

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