Safeguarding when volunteering

This week 22 - 28 June 2020 is Safeguarding Week here in Leeds.

While the pandemic has shown how we can all pull together and support our communities, sadly as people are remaining in their homes more it also means that abuse and neglect can be harder to spot. 
Here is a reminder of information around safeguarding particularly when you are volunteering.      
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is about protecting children, young people and adults at risk from abuse or neglect. Everybody has the right to be safe no matter who they are or what their circumstances and we are all responsible for the safety of children, young people and adults at risk.  
What is abuse?
Abuse can take many forms, and may be a single or a repeated act, a failure to act, intentional, or due to a lack of understanding, or it may be a crime. There are many different types of abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial and material abuse, neglect, discriminatory abuse which is ill treatment or harassment based on age, gender, sexuality, disability, domestic abuse, organisational abuse, modern slavery and self – neglect. But you don’t need to know how to label abuse to speak up; remember, volunteers have two main duties around safeguarding:  
•              Be aware that abuse happens and look out for the signs
•              Make a report if you are concerned  
Remember that abuse can happen anywhere and anyone can be an abuser, however it is still an uncommon act.  
What can I do?
If you see anything which causes you concern, then you should report it immediately to your volunteer supervisor. Whatever the circumstances you have a responsibility to act if you have any concerns about abuse - doing nothing is not an option.  
If you cannot contact your volunteer supervisor, if you think a crime has been committed or if someone is immediate danger, then you should contact the police on 999.  
You can find out more about safeguarding here in Leeds during COVID-19 by visiting the Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Partnership and Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board websites.