What is safe guarding?

    The term safeguarding is used, and sometimes overused in all kinds of situations.

    For the purposes of this policy, it is used to define actions taken to protect at risk groups from harm. These groups can include Elected members, Staff, Contractors, Volunteers, Service users, in fact everybody, given the right combination of life circumstances or personal characteristics. This risk can come from anywhere, adults or other children and, as an organisation working with possible vulnerable groups, it’s vital that we and our staff understand what safeguarding is and why it’s important.

    Safeguarding Children and young people

    Legally, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Therefore, safeguarding children is about protecting all those under 18 from harm.

    When safeguarding a child, we:

    • Protect them from abuse, maltreatment and exploitation.
    • Prevent anything from harming their health or development.
    • Ensure they can grow up under safe and effective care.
    • Take action to ensure they have the best outcomes in life.

    Part of the safeguarding process is identifying and protecting children suffering from, or likely to suffer from, significant harm.

    There are 5 recognised types of abuse under the heading of Child Safeguarding:

    1. Physical
    2. Sexual
    3. Neglect
    4. Emotional
    5. Exploitation*

    (*Exploitation is recognised by professionals, although legislation is yet to catch up)  

    Safeguarding Adults at Risk

    An adult at risk is defined as a person who, for any reason, may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.

    Safeguarding adults at risk involves reducing or preventing the risk of significant harm from neglect or abuse, while also supporting people to maintain control of their own lives.

    This does not only refer to adults who lack capacity. Adults with full capacity can still be considered vulnerable if they are unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from significant harm.


    It is important to remember that an adult has the ability to consent or withhold consent unless there is a specific and legal reason otherwise; if an adult refuse’s help there is little we can do.

    In some circumstance we can override consent, for example if there is a significant risk of serious harm.

    When safeguarding an adult at risk you:

    • Ensure they can live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
    • Empower them by encouraging them to make their own decisions and provide informed consent.
    • Prevent the risk of abuse or neglect and stop it from occurring.
    • Promote their well-being and take their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account.


    Principles of Safeguarding Adults at Risk

    • There are five principles:
    • A rights-based approach.
    • An empowering approach.
    • Person-centred approach.
    • A consent-driven approach.
    • A collaborative approach.


    All adults, regardless of age, ability or disability, gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital or gender status have the right to be protected from abuse and poor practice and to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment.

    We will seek to make sure that the organisation is inclusive and make reasonable adjustments for any ability, disability or impairment, we will also commit to continuous development, monitoring, and review.

    We will always respect the rights, dignity and worth of all adults.

    We recognise that ability and disability can change over time, such that some adults may be additionally vulnerable to abuse, for example those who have a dependency on others or have different communication needs.

    We recognise that an adult with an impairment or a disability may or may not identify themselves/be identified as an adult ‘at risk’ or vulnerable.

    There are seven types of abuse recognised in reference to adult Safegaurding:

    1. Physical
    2. Sexual
    3. Neglect
    4. Emotional
    5. Exploitation
    6. Institutional
    7. Financial


    There are also a number of related definitions that often comprise of several types of abuse simultaneously:  

    • Domestic Abuse (inc. violence)
    • Hate crimes
    • Sectarian abuse
    • Human trafficking

    If any of the related definitions is suspected or if there is an immediate threat of serious injury or danger then it is a matter for the PSNI, the advice is to call 999.

    Why are you updating the policy?

    In 2018 we introduced a Safeguarding Panel and began a piece of work to establish robust policies and procedures, demonstrating our commitment to safeguarding and to provide clear and practical support to elected members, staff, agency workers, casual workers, and volunteers.

    This process reviewed the current policy and procedures and recommended some improvements, in response to:

    • Keep Safe Children – Our duty to Care (2017), and 
    • Keep Adults Safe – A shared responsibility (2015) published by Volunteer Now.

    As well as reflecting new developments in Safeguarding both environmentally and to relevant changes in legislation and guidance. 

    This new policy represents a milestone in this work and demonstrates the councils ongoing commitment to Safegaurding everyone regardless of age.

    Who does the policy apply to?

    The Policy applies to all employees, elected members, casual/agency workers, volunteers, contractors, grant-aided organisations, and those using our facilities irrespective of their function, remit or role.