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What Is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is sometimes perceived as being an alternative word to describe child protection. However, they are not the same, and to think they are, can leave people and organisations vulnerable. One aims to keep you free from the cliff edge, to begin with. Despite its best intentions, the other pretty much remains the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.


If an organisation was to only focus on 'Safeguarding' they would by default encompass 'Child Protection'. However, the same does not necessarily apply the other way around. To be a child-safe organisation, with a safeguarding culture that safeguards everyone, you must reflect both, safeguarding and child protection. 

Mountain Path


  • Is holistic (includes all people – all children, staff and environments) and is a continuum.

  • It is mostly proactive in seeking to prevent any risks from occurring.

  • Any risks that do occur are mostly low-level and/or kept to a low level.

  • It covers all thresholds of need, including child protection.

  • Safeguarding is a shared workforce responsibility.

  • Families may receive support from the organisation and possibly community services.

  • Involves working with children and their whānau (not ‘doing to’).


Child Protection

  • All children have a right to protection. However, the act of child protection only applies to those children we believe are suffering from or at risk of suffering from abuse or neglect. 

  • Child Protection tends to be reactive, as most risks have already occurred.

  • Risks are high (can be life-threatening), and children are already at their most vulnerable.

  • Managing the risk environment may be outside of the organisation’s control.

  • Child Protection usually requires the organisation’s management or designated safeguarding staff to respond to concerns.

  • Referrals to and support from specialist child protection services is needed,

  • Child protection seeks to be inclusive of whānau but depending on the needs and risks, responding to concerns may require working without whānau consent.

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