Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and teenagers under 18 years and vulnerable adults, and to protect them from harm.
It means protecting people from physical, verbal, mental/emotional and sexual abuse and neglect, ensuring children grow up in a safe and caring environment and taking actions to prevent harm where possible – this includes addressing the risk of children and young people harming themselves.
Child protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children and young people who have been identified as already experiencing or likely to experience harm or abuse, including to themselves.
Everyone has a responsibility to keep children and young people safe. This includes members of the public, voluntary and community groups and churches and faith groups, as well as larger organisations and institutions.
Sometimes people worry about breaking the trust or confidentiality of a friend or young person they are supporting, and building trust is very important to helping someone. However, if you believe that someone is at risk of significant harm from someone else or to themselves, then it is important to share your concerns or get some advice in order to keep them safe.
Where possible it is a good idea to talk to the young person about this and get their consent first, but sometimes this isn’t possible or they refuse consent – when someone is at immediate risk safety should come first.
If you are worried or have concerns about the safety, welfare or risk of harm to any child under 18yrs in Cornwall please contact the Multi Agency Referral Unit on: 0300 123 1116 or complete the online referral form here
You can find out more about Child Protection and Safeguarding in Cornwall and IoS here
For information about safeguarding vulnerable adults see Cornwall Council
The NSPCC website has more detailed information about Safeguarding and Child Protection including legislation and guidance for organisations.