Safeguarding children and young people is about ensuring that their welfare is looked after. This includes keeping them safe from harm, abuse and maltreatment, and that they grow up with safe and effective care.
Our ambition for all children and young people is that they have the best possible outcomes.
We all have a responsibility for safeguarding and PHE is committed to this area, which is why we’ve just refreshed the evidence for professionals and commissioners.
So what’s new?
Our Rapid Review of the Evidence on Safeguarding in the Healthy Child Programme (5-19s) was undertaken to help ensure services for this age group are underpinned by the latest evidence.
The Healthy Child Programme is an evidence based framework of universal and progressive services to promote children and young people’s health and wellbeing.
In line with this programme, the rapid review focussed on prevention and early intervention.
We looked carefully at ‘what works’ in the areas of preventing child abuse and neglect, child sexual abuse and exploitation, intimate partner violence (IPV), female genital mutilation (FGM), and gang violence.
The review found promising or strong evidence for some interventions and programmes including:
- parenting programmes that can be successful in preventing child maltreatment
- universal school-based interventions which may have positive effects on children’s internet safety knowledge and attitudes
- that school-based sexual abuse prevention programmes can strengthen children’s protective behaviours
- school-based dating violence interventions can improve young people’s attitudes and knowledge around dating violence
- programme-level responses need to be complemented by policies that promote greater gender equality
- media campaigns may be useful in raising awareness of intimate partner violence and those services that can help
- preventing gang involvement and violence is likely to require meeting children’s developmental needs from early childhood onwards, and taking into account individual, family, school, peer and neighbourhood domains
The review makes the important point that investing in prevention and early intervention also makes sound economic sense by preventing the need for intense support in both childhood and later in adulthood.
A key finding from the report was that classroom and community based teaching requires the educator to be trained and confident. Professionals with expertise, such as school nurses, are therefore critical.
As leaders of the Healthy Child Programme (5-19), school nurses have a crucial role to play in supporting the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
Keeping children safe is a central part of their role – as highlighted in best practice guidelines such as the 4-5-6 model and high impact areas.
Commissioning guidance for school nurses reflects how important safeguarding is to public health nursing for children and young people.
Sadly we know too well the consequences of not keeping children safe from harm.
In updating the safeguarding components of the HCP (5-19s) PHE aims to support local authorities, who are commissioning public health services, to make the best investments in programmes and approaches to keep children safe.
This review will help those delivering services on the ground to achieve the best outcomes for all children.
We hope that this review and updated guidance will help us to work ever better together and go further in keeping all our children and young people safe.