Everyone's business

Everyone has a responsibility to safeguard children and young people. A new safeguarding initiative is all about working together to ensure our children and young people in Marlborough are safe.

Based on the United Kingdom model, "safeguarding" provides a shift from traditional child protection training to a proactive, encompassing approach designed to prevent the risks of harm to children and young people rather than react to them.

We have all heard about children through the media that have been harmed by people who should have been taking care of them and there are many other stories which never reach the papers.

Many of us have wondered what can we do about it and the feedback I often get is, "I just didn't know what to do, I wasn't sure and didn't want to make the situation worse," or "I thought someone else would have said something".

This initiative is aimed at teaching everyone in contact with children and young people how to recognise the signs of abuse and neglect and what we can do about it. It helps to identify factors in our community which support a high standard of child abuse prevention practice, as well as those factors that create unsafe conditions in which poor practice is more likely.

When it comes to protecting our children and young people, we want to make it harder for people to do something wrong and easier for them to do it right. Rather than Police and Child, Youth & Family being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff we want to be placing a fence at the top.

Often where there is abuse and neglect, it is adults in the wider community who see these children and young people first. They are the ones who can make a difference if they know what to look for and know what to do. "Doing" is what this initiative is all about.

The initiative is a multi-agency presentation given by experienced practitioners who are all working at the coal face of child protection. Building on the success of the initiative in Nelson, there are presentations from paediatrics, general practice, police, Child Youth & Family and Internet Health & Safety. Participants leave with a tool kit of information and it is hoped that the knowledge, skills and support gained will give people confidence in documenting and reporting any concerns to relevant services.

Safeguarding Children and Young People is everyone's business.

This is an exciting initiative that will help people who are concerned about a child to have confidence to know what to do about it.

If you would like to come to this free training seminar at the Elim church, 26 Burleigh Road, Blenheim, on Wednesday, February 27, at 3.30pm, please register at marlbvip@gmail.com or by dialling the free-phone number 03 984 4277.

The Marlborough Express