Safeguarding may be an unfamiliar term for some new groups – it means making sure your organisation is run in a way that actively prevents harm, abuse and neglect. It’s also about being ready to respond safely and well if there is a problem. If you are part of a group or organisation that is helping vulnerable people in response to Covid-19 then here are some pointers to consider:
- Depending on the size of your group you may need to allocate a Safeguarding lead who can deal with any Safeguarding concerns your volunteers may have. (Members of your group such as teachers or social workers would have experience in this area.)
- If someone discloses to any one of your group that they are at risk of being harmed or have been harmed, they must disclose it to the Safeguarding lead.
- The Safeguarding lead should contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0300 470 9100 or Children’s Services on 0300 470 9100. Out of hours 01483 517898
- Advise all volunteers that in the case of an immediate risk call 999 and then follow up with the Safeguarding lead at the first possible opportunity.
- Signs to look out for may include people telling you about not eating, not taking medication or evidence of self-harm.
- Volunteers should not enter into people’s homes and should not accept gifts from people.
- Your group should agree a method for handling money safely that protects vulnerable people and your volunteers.
VODA in North Tyneside have produced the following short videos explaining what safeguarding is and some tips for Staying safe when Volunteering.
There is evidence that levels of domestic abuse are rising as a result of the lockdown. Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership has asked that this guide be circulated to voluntary organisations who may come into contact with survivors of domestic abuse Download
Safeguarding and DBS Checks
The Government has produced some guidance on safeguarding and the need for DBS checks in response to the Covid 19 (updated 25 March 2020). Click here for the link to the Government website. Most community organisations are unlikely to require DBS checks. However, if you do, then VARB can process these for you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Risk Assessments and Safeguarding
A more extensive presentation covering areas such as how to create a risk assessment; advice on making deliveries to people; advice for financial safeguarding and picking up prescriptions is available here (Created by the National Food Service)
Further generic safeguarding guidance is available from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, NCVO, here