The 5 R’s of safeguarding are a set of guidelines on how to act upon a safeguarding concern if you are caring for or dealing with vulnerable adults or children. Understanding what might be a safeguarding concern first requires us to answer the all-important question:
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is about being ready and prepared to protect others from abuse, neglect, harm, bullying and harassment in a safe manner.
Safeguarding definitions vary slightly when it comes to safeguarding adults and safeguarding children, with one of the principal differences being an adult's right to self-determination - the ability to make their own choices. This does not necessarily mean that all adults can protect themselves, leaving many adults at risk of various types of abuse, such as physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse. The safeguarding of vulnerable adults, perhaps due to their advanced age or intellectual impairments, is therefore of paramount importance to their safety.
Protecting children, under 18 years of age, from abuse and neglect is the primary intention of safeguarding children, whilst it also entails ensuring that they grow up in safe and effective care to give them optimum chances in both childhood and adulthood. There are 6 principles that can be applied when safeguarding children, which provide a framework for the safety and security of young people.
In short, safeguarding concerns keeping vulnerable people safe.
What are the 5 Rs of Safeguarding?
In order to safeguard vulnerable adults and young people, you must know how to identify the signs and indicators of abuse and neglect. Training in spotting these signs can be very helpful, as distinguishing between behaviours can vary from person to person, whilst those certified in safeguarding training have also been taught the correct response to detect signs of abuse. Private dialogue with your organization's appointed safeguarding official is encouraged if a concern is raised about an individual to another staff member or the individual who may be suffering has approached a staff member other than the safeguarding lead.
Respond appropriately when you have a concern about abuse or neglect. Someone who has experienced or is experiencing some kind of abuse will likely be very vulnerable, so your behavior in dealing with this is crucial. You should remain calm and ask open questions, encouraging them to give just enough information to validate the claim. Whilst you should not make any promises about what will follow, you should take any allegation seriously and assure them that reporting their concerns was the right thing to do. Your safeguarding policy will detail the steps you should take to respond safely and effectively to any potential safeguarding issue.
Your organization should have a designated person responsible for dealing with safeguarding issues, whilst a deputy should also be appointed in the event that the designated safeguarding official is out of the office or the allegation is made against them. You should be able to find out who this person is in your safeguarding policy. Once you have responded to a safeguarding concern with the vulnerable person, you should report it immediately to your designated safeguarding lead, who will then take responsibility for acting upon the issue. You may check that the issue is being acted on appropriately, however, for the confidentiality of the person concerned, it may be unnecessary for the safeguarding lead to share further details with you.
Ensure you record everything you have seen or heard in relation to the issue. Complete memorization of every detail of the conversation is not expected, however, you should record exactly what the individual has alleged, using the individual's keywords and phrases. Record, as well, your own observations and interpretations, clearly distinguishing between your accounts and those of the individual raising the allegation, before passing it on to the safeguarding lead, who should keep it only accessible to responsible for safeguarding issues.
Refer your concerns to the correct authority. It's normally your designated safeguarding lead that will report this, so it's best to make sure you pass on everything you have. They should then decide on the appropriate action to take, perhaps consulting with the appropriate people, either inside the organization or outside, in order to arrive at a safe conclusion for the individual.
Put someone's safety first
If you spot anything that may be a safeguarding concern, or somebody else makes you aware of one, you must act on it immediately, in order to protect those who may be vulnerable. Ensuring you are aware of your organization's safeguarding official is a good way of making the process swifter in the event of a safeguarding issue arising in the future.
We provide a wide range of online Safeguarding training courses to meet your organization's needs, which also include courses like Conflict Management, Internet Safety Awareness, Preventing Radicalisation and Safeguarding Adults Train the Trainer.