Safeguarding *trigger warning*

Here I was thinking yesterday would just be boring and a little upsetting.

Safeguarding is a standard bit of training you have to do to work with vulnerable adults and children, I’ve done the adult training loads of times and it’s upsetting because of the content but I can cope with it. I didn’t think doing safeguarding of children would be any different than the ones I’ve done for adults, I was wrong.

Talk about triggering, about memories flooding in and engulfing me in pain. I fell back into my old publicly ‘acceptable’ self harming in a big way, my fingers are a mess and my lips are bitten to shreds.

The pain of knowing that the people I care about went through some of the more devastating abuse that we covered, that I went through some of the others and hearing them speak about it in a way that made it sound as bad as all the others. I’ve tried to convince myself that it wasn’t ‘that bad’ that I’m just a weakling and that’s why it has left me as scarred by it as I am, that they didn’t do anything wrong to me.

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For those of you that don’t know about what safeguarding is, it’s about protecting children and vulnerable adults from being treated in ways that will physically and psychologically harm them. These fall into four main categories for children. NEGLECT, PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL and SEXUAL abuse though they tend to overlap as you’d expect.

I’ve known and am still friends with people who have suffered every single one of these categories of abuse, I’ve seen the damage that it does to be subjected to this treatment and how long the after effects last. My intent in writing this was to vent the things that triggered me and to get them down here so I could get them out of my head, but I can’t make my fingers type the words or even think about it, the fear is still that palpable. So instead if this post wakes just one person up to abuse and helps one child or even lets an adult speak about what happened to them then I think it’s worth it.

Surrounded by people I work with and don’t know well enough to open up to, having the urge to speak out about what I went through and yet still having a mental padlock on my voice. It made me wish not for the first time, people had noticed my cries for help and done something. I think that’s why even the slightest indication of something not being right with a child or vulnerable adult and I report it, as far as I’m concerned that’s the way things should be.

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NO SECRETS! not when it comes to the protection of people who struggle to protect themselves.

So, how do you spot it? Well it is not always easy, abusers are sneaky and the person being abused will often be good at hiding it too out of embarrassment, lack of understanding, fear or brain washing by their abusers.

What to watch out for:

Changes in a childs behaviour- becoming angry, scared, shy, over clingy when that is not their usual personality.

Marks and bruises in areas that are not consistent with the explanation or ‘normal’ for a child to bump.

The child hiding these marks with clothing or in their actions.

Knowing too much about the language and physical acts of intimacy.

Being underweight/overweight, scavenging for food, stealing, hoarding.

Overreacting to being admonished, cowering or hiding. Or alternately not reacting to it at all, being ‘used to’ physical violence.

Lack of personal hygiene, rotten teeth, skin conditions, unkempt clothing which is not changed or washed.

Not wanting to sit, walking uncomfortably, pulling at their clothing in discomfort.

Suddenly coming into money or gifts from people, getting in and out of cars with people that aren’t family.

 

These are just a few of them and none of them are ‘proof’ in and of itself, but they are all important indications that something is not right and if you see them please tell someone. If no one reports their worries then that child could be in real danger. Social services and schools will keep records of all concerns and when these flags are raised will keep an eye on the situation hopefully meaning that the family will get help.

We’ve all heard about some of the horrible incidences that have been publicised over the years, Baby P, grooming of children, Female genital mutilation, Winterbourne care home….be aware and please don’t turn a blind eye. Speak out and make a difference.make a difference

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12 thoughts on “Safeguarding *trigger warning*

    1. They are Greg, looking back I’m surprised I survived them. My little efforts in this matter are not much but if everyone does the same the difference will be palpable.

  1. I completely understand how difficult it was to even start writing this post, let alone face the whole hideous content of your training head on.
    I too have worked in a profession where Safeguarding Training is a compulsory thing which everyone sort of rolls their eyes at. I too have been taken by surprise, shocked to the core and shaken too much to type the things that hurt.

    Well done on such a good, informative post. Don’t ever belittle your experience.
    You are worth so much more than you have been made to feel.

    firefly

    1. Thank you Firefly, I have a theory that those of us that have been through things like that are drawn to the caring professions and those where we can make a difference to others lives….so many people I’ve spoken to have!
      I had to make it into something informative when I couldn’t speak about what I’d gone through xx

  2. People still can’t believe that my marriage of 14 years finally broke up because I refused to keep my mouth shut about incidents of child abuse among my wife’s family members. They thought it was a “private” family matter, and my wife threatened to leave if I notified the authorities. I still can’t believe she thought I would stand by and do nothing while those youngsters went through stuff just as bad as what I had endured in own life. Go figure.

    1. That sort of thinking is unfortunately still rife, but can I just say…good on you! I’m proud of anyone who speaks out in protection of children especially in such difficult circumstances. I really hope something came of what you did and those children are now safe from what was happening.

  3. Very informative post. Thanks.
    I edit a wordpress-based free magazine called Care To Share Magazine.
    Would you mind if I include this in the next issue?
    Please let me know.
    Cheers,
    Stuart

    1. Thank you for checking Stuart, it’s OK if you want to share it. I had a quick look at your magazine and it’s a great idea sometimes carers need a place to vent and chat with others who understand how hard our jobs are 🙂

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