Safeguarding means protecting a citizen’s health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. This can apply to both children and adults. We are currently supporting a number of safeguarding campaigns, which you can find out more about below.
In 2020, NAVCA was commissioned by the National Lottery Community Foundation to create a national campaign to tackle the issue of underreporting of safeguarding concerns, specifically amongst staff, volunteers and trustees in the voluntary sector.
We formed a partnership with two of our members, Community Action Suffolk (CAS) and Basingstoke Voluntary Action (BVA), to tackle the issue. This partnership used the following plan to develop and share the #AreTheySafe campaign.
The issue of underreporting of safeguarding concerns was identified because historically people have seen or heard signs of abuse or neglect but failed to report them.
A YouGov poll (2013) states the reasons child abuse or neglect is underreported is the fear of:
• Falsely accusing someone of abuse (59%)
• The consequences on the victim (39%)
• Splitting up a family (17%)
• What would happen to the accused (17%)
• What happens next (15%)
It is also important to understand that not all safeguarding concerns look alike, that you understand the main categories of abuse in children and adults, and how to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse.
By removing the stigma of reporting and creating a greater understanding of safeguarding, we can change the behaviours of people witnessing potential abuse and neglect, and empower people to speak up and help people in abusive or neglectful situations receive the support they need.
Use the link below to download the campaign pack which includes:
We have also been able to create opportunities to test and learn from a range of approaches to developing and delivering safeguarding training and advice, put forward by our members. This builds on the findings on gaps and challenges from our regional events in 2021, and has allowed us to rapidly test new approaches and spread learning of what works at a local and regional level.
We have worked with five of our members to pilot several different ideas:
The purpose of the podcast is to raise awareness of Safeguarding for members of staff, volunteers, and trustees in the voluntary sector. The podcast features a range of guests from organisations in Northamptonshire such as Right Resolution CIC, Age UK, NDAS, Northamptonshire Safeguarding Adults Board, North Northants Council and Northamptonshire CCG.
The five episodes in the series cover the following topics: Roles and Responsibilities, Policies and Procedures, Recognising and Reporting Risk, and Recruitment and Criminal Record checks.
Community Action Suffolk delivered a rural safeguarding conference (via Zoom) focusing on safeguarding issues in rural areas including: isolation, domestic abuse, elder abuse – safeguarding adults with dementia, mental health and safeguarding, balancing safety with need for community. The event was opened to organisations across England to attend, with a range of national and local speakers across multiple sectors.
Bassetlaw CVS have created three online courses which raise awareness of safeguarding requirements when working with volunteers with different needs, including a particular focus on young people (aged 16-18) and those over 18 with mental health issues.
TSLK have set up a peer-to-peer mentoring scheme which is currently supporting three local organisations with their Safeguarding needs. These Safeguarding Leads will feel better supported, and less isolated in their role as a result of the project. They have also increased their local Safeguarding Network from 36 members to 44 members, developed and piloted new training resources on ‘Understanding Boundaries’ in response to sector needs and created a new ‘Introduction to Safeguarding’ workshop to support smaller community groups and volunteer-led organisations.
VAL have been able to deliver 2 free training sessions: one Level 1 Working Together to Safeguard Children & Young People, and a pre-entry level Basic Safeguarding course to over 25 local organisations. As well as this, they hosted a workshop for VCSEs with the West Yorkshire Safeguarding Board to discuss the development of their new single ‘gateway’ (a web-based tool) for organisations to complete a ‘section 11’ self-assessment (an assessment of safeguarding effectiveness). This session improved local VCSEs' understanding of the tool and how it will improve safeguarding processes throughout West Yorkshire.
As part of our Safeguarding work, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, we have been able to work closely with a Research team within the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex to support their research on Mutual Aid groups across the UK, and the development of the toolkits they’ve created based on the results. We commissioned a piece of research focused specifically on Safeguarding, and how these groups could benefit from support from their Local Infrastructure Organisations. The Uni of Sussex team worked with us to develop a Safeguarding-focused edition of their Mutual Aid Toolkit.
This toolkit includes examples of good practice, possible challenges when dealing with Safeguarding concerns and potential solutions, ways of accessing further support, and a list of free resources for groups to use as they wish. We ask that you share this toolkit with Mutual Aid groups and Small Charities in your local area, so we can make sure we continue to spread the important message that Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and having procedures in place (even relatively causal ones) protects staff and volunteers as well as the members of the public that they work with.
You can download the toolkit below.
For more information about the work the University of Sussex are doing, and to see previous editions of the Mutual Aid Toolkit, head to their website. https://www.sussex.ac.uk/research/projects/groups-and-covid/community-support-and-mutual-aid/mutual-aid-toolbox’
Our safeguarding work has enabled us to connect with the DBS Regional Outreach team, who focus on the national and corporate elements of the DBS’ work, to provide local level support and build regional relationships by acting as the first point of contact for the DBS. The Regional Outreach Advisors’ job also run training and information sessions, and feed back to DBS about needs in their area.
We were able to introduce some of the DBS Regional Outreach Advisers to local organisations through our ‘Every Person, Every Conversation: Are They Safe?’ events which took place in 2021. We found that there was a lot of value in building relationships between the DBS and VCSEs to make sure there is easy and consistent access to vital Disclosure and Barring information and updates. We then hosted a full DBS overview event and wrote a blog post about our reflections on this.
Here is the current list of DBS Regional Outreach Advisors and their contact details:
North West: Jordan Hayden - Jordan.Hayden@dbs.gov.uk
North East: Beth Dale - Beth.Dale@dbs.gov.uk
East Midlands: Lizzie Whittington - Elizabeth.Whittington@dbs.gov.uk
Greater London: Kiranpreet Rehal - Kiranpreet.email@example.com
East of England: Georgina Mitchell - Georgina.Mitchell1@dbs.gov.uk
Yorkshire and The Humber: Rebecca Bool - Rebecca.Bool@dbs.gov.uk
West Midlands - Joanne Wheatley - Joanne.Wheatley1@dbs.gov.uk
South East - Kelly Matthews - Kelly.Matthews@dbs.gov.uk
Wales: Carol Ann Eland - CarolAnn.Eland@dbs.gov.uk
Northern Ireland: Allister Woods - Allister.Woods1@dbs.gov.uk
General Mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org
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