Safeguarding Children

Health services have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, as in the Children Acts of 1989 and 2004. Safeguarding children is defined in national guidance as: ‘protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring that they are well-cared for’ (HM Government, 2010). 

Many safeguarding children activities are part of routine daily practice in health settings; for example pre-employment checks to ensure the suitability of staff to work with children; the protective effect of a practitioner’s support to vulnerable parents; positive parenting advice provided by a health visitor; the assessment of a child’s well-being as part of the Care Programme Approach and the advice provided by a sexual health worker to help support a young person’s choices in becoming sexually active.  Such timely and helpful activities can ensure that children and young people stay safe and healthy.

Child with GP and Mother

Safeguarding children is also about protecting children from maltreatment (abuse and neglect) and recent policy appears to be returning to the use of the concept of 'child protection' to cover the 'sharp end' of safeguarding.  A person may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.  Children and young people may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.   Because of the range and spread of health services, practitioners are in a good position not only to recognise situations that may indicate that a child is ‘at risk’ of maltreatment, but also to offer early help where there are concerns about the welfare of a child. 

An excellent resource for GPs (from the RCGP & NSPCC) is the Safeguarding Children and Young People: A Toolkit for General Practice that helps to benchmark practice and to ensure that all practice staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

The Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Board brings together representatives of each of the main agencies and professionals responsible for helping to protect children from abuse and neglect. It is an inter-agency forum for agreeing how the different services and professional groups should co-operate to safeguard children across the Isle of Wight and, for making sure that arrangements work effectively in bringing about better outcomes for children.  To find out more click here.

If you are worried about a child you can contact:

  • Professionals' Line: -  0845 002 0095
  • Public Number: - 0845 650 0097
  • Hampshire & IOW Police: 0845 045 45 45 or in an emergency 999

Over the coming months this page will be developed to provide links to more key documents, safeguarding children news and sources of advice and help in achieving excellence in safeguarding children.  

For more information and help and advice on any aspect of safeguarding children please contact:

Mandy Tyson - Consultant Nurse Safeguarding Children & Designated Nurse for NHS Isle of Wight CCG
Telephone  (IOW CCG):  01983 534501