What are The 5 R’s of Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is everybody’s business. We are all responsible for the welfare of those around us and understanding the processes for safeguarding is a huge step in preventing abuse and neglect.

The following blog discusses ‘the five R’s’ of safeguarding and how you can begin to raise awareness and implement them into everyday life.

What Does Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Mean?

The meaning of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is essentially keeping them protected at all times and ensuring they are not subject to abuse and neglect.

Abuse can take many different forms, and it is crucial to note that it can take more than one form at a time. These include, but aren't subject to, physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse.

Neglect refers to the persistent failure in the duty to care for somebody and meet their basic needs.

The 5 Rs of Safeguarding

When caring for and protecting others, it is crucial to understand the processes to follow should you be concerned about an individual and their well-being.

‘The Five R’s’ of safeguarding are a useful and structured way to remember what to do should a safeguarding concern occur.

1. Recognise

Communities surrounding children and vulnerable adults should have a clear and definite understanding of the signs of potential abuse, harm and neglect.  Symptoms of abuse are not always visible, and suspicious injuries or behaviours should not be dismissed.

These surrounding individuals must adopt an understanding of suspicious and non-suspicious behaviour and injury when considering their safeguarding duty. Trusting your instinct and treating every concern as an issue is always best.

2. Respond

If a safeguarding issue has been detected, responding to it in an appropriate manner is extremely vital.

Some children and vulnerable adults who have fallen victim to abuse and neglect will most likely need to be handled with great care and caution. You should approach these individuals in a calm fashion and foresee that they may not be willing to talk about their situation.

If they wish to discuss matters, ask open questions, which will encourage them to give just enough information to validate the claim. Once you have enough information to solidify it beyond suspicion, you should begin reporting.

3. Report

Each organisation should have a designated person or team responsible for safeguarding issues.

Another important factor in ensuring the safety and security of others is knowing who your closest safeguarding lead is. To this individual, you should report any concerns that may have arisen, and they will then take responsibility for dealing with the matter professionally.

4. Record

Recording the incident in the best detail is extremely important for the investigation. You should take precise and comprehensive notes of the situation to assist in your report and relay these where necessary.

Included in the notes should be the who, what, why, when and where of safeguarding. Details of who was involved are especially important, as well as dates and times. The recording of the events should take place as soon as possible.

5. Refer

After the previous steps, the report should be referred to the appropriate authorities to continue the investigation.

If you believe the safeguarding risk to be more urgent, such as a suspicion that somebody is under immediate or severe threat, you should contact the relevant authority immediately, whether this is the police, fire service or ambulance crew.

Why Are These Principles Sometimes Called the 4 Rs of Safeguarding?

Though there are five R’s to safeguarding, as mentioned above, sometimes organisations may refer to these as the ‘four R’s’. Though slightly different names, they still refer to the same principles.

The reason for the differing names is down to the combination of ‘Report’ and ‘Refer’ into one principle. Other times, organisations may not include the ‘Respond’ principle, therefore referring to the safeguarding principle as ‘the four R’s’.

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