The Every Child Matters policy came about as a response to the death of Victoria Climbie. Victoria was a young girl who was neglected, abused and tortured by her guardians. The people and organisations who came into contact with her such as social services, police and NHS did not do enough to protect her. Her death, and the failures and circumstances surrounding it, caused a public outcry. This led to a public enquiry which in turn produced major changes to child protection policies in the UK.
Who Did the Policy Apply To?
The policy applied to every child from birth until the age of 19. It listed 5 key principles which all children should have rights to. These were to:
- be healthy
- stay safe
- enjoy and achieve
- make a positive contribution
- achieve economic well-being
Anyone who worked in any capacity with children had to adhere to the policy. The purpose of the policy was to ensure that these five principles were at the heart of all interaction with children to ensure that children were safe and given the best chances in life.
In 2010 the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition moved away from the Every Child Matters policy. This Government put the emphasis on health visitors and social workers to carry out health checks at the child’s home. Under the 2010 government the terminology also changed. Anyone now working with children will be familiar with the term, ‘safeguarding’.
Currently, all organisations that work with or come into contact with children must have safeguarding policies and procedures to make sure every child, regardless of whether they are considered vulnerable or not, their age, gender, religion or ethnicity, are protected from harm. Current guidance and legislation apply to all children up to the age of 18.
Child Safeguarding Training
There are many training courses available which explore child safeguarding. As the subject covers so many elements of children and young peoples lives, the issues around this topic are extensive. If you work in an organisation with contact with children and young people there should already be a policy in place which takes into account the broad legislation and provides tailored advice and guidance, unique to the service you provide. If there isn’t, there should be as without this your employer is putting both children and young people and yourself in a vulnerable position.
No child should suffer and it is essential that organisations and individuals take this responsibility seriously and put in place robust systems to ensure their protection.
Engage in Learning, provides online training courses. Their interactive Safeguarding Children training course will help you to reduce organisational risk and make a positive difference to lives. Child protection courses form an integral role in the compliance strategy for anyone working with children or in an environment where children are present.