The publication of yesterday’s hard hitting national review, “The Myth of Invisible Men”, by the independent Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, provides a stark reminder that babies are being let down in this country and, for some, the consequences are catastrophic and life-changing.

Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV, said:

“This hard hitting report highlights yet again that babies pay the ultimate price for the failings in the systems designed to safeguard and protect them. Babies cannot speak – they rely on the adults around them to protect them and, when this is not possible or their parents need additional help and support, they need to live in a world where there are skilled professionals who can spot their distress and step in to help. This is why we are calling on the Government to invest in health visiting as a vital safety net for babies and young children.”

The report highlights that 35% of all serious incident notifications involve serious harm to babies, the vast majority involving physical injury or death. This is the biggest category of all notifications that the Panel sees. In the majority of cases where babies have been injured or killed, men are the perpetrators – research suggests that men are between 2 and 15 times more likely than women to cause this type of harm in under 1s. The greater prevalence of male abusers sits alongside a description of men as too often being ‘hidden’ or ‘invisible’ to safeguarding agencies.

The review focuses on non-accidental injury (NAI) in infants under the age of 1 and seeks to answer the following questions:

  • ‘How well does the safeguarding system understand the role of the father/male carer?’
  • ‘How can the safeguarding system be more effective at engaging, assessing and planning for and with men in the protection of children (or those for whom they have a parenting responsibility)?’

The review concludes that there is an urgent need to improve how the system sees, responds to and intervenes with men who may represent a risk to the babies they are caring for. For this group of men, the role that they play in a child’s life, their history of parenting and their own experiences as children and how this effects them as adults, are too frequently overlooked by the services with responsibilities for safeguarding children and for supporting parents.”

The iHV is delighted to share the updated RCGP Child Safeguarding Toolkit.

Authored by safeguarding experts including Catherine Powell, Child Safeguarding Consultant, Institute of Health Visiting,  the updated Child Safeguarding Toolkit provides busy practitioners with an easily navigable resource to ensure excellence in safeguarding practice in Primary Care.

The purpose of the RCGP Child Safeguarding Toolkit is to support and enable best practice in safeguarding and child protection. This includes setting out the roles and responsibilities of GPs and their staff, in the recognition and referral of situations that indicate that a child (including an unborn child) may be at risk of significant harm.

The toolkit has been designed with the needs of the busy frontline practitioner, and useful links to updates on policy and practice for those who have a more senior leadership role.

Successful practice in safeguarding and child protection can be incredibly rewarding. However, the challenging nature of this topic, together with the emotional toil, should be acknowledged. Working with others is key to achieving best outcomes.

Building on previous versions, and designed to complement the Adult Safeguarding Toolkit launched in 2017, this latest edition highlights contemporary risks to children and young people including increasing awareness of risks to children from outside the home such as child sexual exploitation, trafficking, domestic abuse within teenage relationships, radicalisation and online abuse (these forms of abuse are referred to as ‘contextual safeguarding’ (Working Together, 2018). It also serves as a reminder of the need to continue to be vigilant as to the risks to children from within their own families.

The contents of the toolkit have been organised in to five sections:

Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff

Published in January 2019, the Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff intercollegiate document provides a clear framework which identifies the safeguarding competencies for all staff, clinical and non-clinical, who work in any healthcare setting.

The safeguarding intercollegiate documents provide a robust framework to ensure that primary care staff are equipped for their safeguarding duties. The RCGP has produced a RCGP supplementary guide to safeguarding training requirements for all primary care staff.