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Posted 8 December 2017

Safety First: How Safeguarding is not Just for ‘the Vulnerable’

Earlier this week, the Charity Commission published its updated safeguarding strategy for charities.

Traditionally, guidance focused on safeguarding charity beneficiaries – commonly children and vulnerable adults. But this latest guidance casts a wider net and addresses the safeguarding responsibilities a charity has towards everyone who ‘comes into contact’ with it. So the guidance applies to all charities rather than those with a particular type of beneficiary.

Safeguarding and promoting well-being and welfare means:

  • protecting the rights of adults to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect;
  • protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of health or development; ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable them to have the best outcomes.

However, the latest guidance makes clear that this must be applied to all, from beneficiaries to the charity’s own staff and volunteers.

This update comes after several veteran-focused charities admitted they did not believe their veterans were ‘vulnerable’, so their policies were inadequate. Also, several charities had been accused of failing to protect staff and volunteers from harassment.

Charities must up their game in terms of protective policies in light of this new guidance. Alongside physical and emotional harm, trafficking and exploitation, other areas such as extremism and misuse of data (particularly relevant with the upcoming GDPR) must be adequately safeguarded against.

Ask yourself: who comes into contact with the charity? What are the risks to them as a result of this contact? You might be surprised to find that you have more vulnerable people under the charity’s care than you thought.

If you require any advice regarding a matter like this, please do not hesitate to contact our charities team.

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