Places of Welcome: Safeguarding

Places of Welcome are open to all and this will include vulnerable people, both children and adults, and therefore we must regard with utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing any form of abuse from happening and to respond appropriately if, where and when it does. Because we are Places of Welcome, visitors or volunteers may speak to helpers and disclose issues of concern regarding their safety or the safety of others and we have a responsibility to report such information; therefore it is important that all volunteers are aware of safeguarding principals and processes.

It is good practice for coordinators to facilitate the opportunity for volunteers to take part in Safeguarding Awareness training and this can include different levels of training - from Basic Awareness and Foundation training (which would be ideal for volunteers and coordinators), to Leadership and Senior Staff training which is also available and is required for people in a Leadership role who have safeguarding leadership responsibilities/ are leading activities involving children and/or vulnerable adults. Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that people are kept safe and are supported well.

Safeguarding is such a sensitive issue that it can be a worry when volunteering.

If you are in a place of worship or community building there may be a designated safeguarding person there to whom reports should be made. There are people within every Local Authority to whom safeguarding concerns should also be reported.

Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility. If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, young person or adult at risk, you must report it. It’s not for you to investigate or decide whether any abuse has taken place. Abuse can be perpetrated or caused by anyone at any time.

If you have concerns:

Do: Ensure the immediate health and safety of the person – dial 999 in an emergency Listen and reassure. Take all concerns seriously. Seek advice. Only tell those who need to know.

If you have concerns: Do not: Promise confidentiality. Do Not: Ignore information or concerns regardless of who the person being spoken about is. Do not: Place yourself at risk of abuse or harm.

Remember - The welfare of the child, young person and vulnerable adult is at all times paramount and takes precedence over all other considerations.

Useful numbers:

  • ChildLine 08001111
  • NSPCC Helpline 0808 808 5000 and website
  • Elder Abuse Helpline - 0808 808 8141

Further information

Some Local Authorities have safeguarding hubs alternatively look at your council web site.

Voluntary sector organisations and faith groups may run courses and/or be able to signpost you to courses happening locally.

Consider buddying up with other Places of Welcome to look at Safeguarding and possible joint training sessions.

Should all my volunteers be DBS checked?

No. Current Government advice is that volunteers for roles like at a Place of Welcome don’t need to be DBS checked -

Each organisation has its own policies for the recruitment of their volunteers.

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Where are the Places of Welcome?

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