Safeguarding: Of Mindsets and Perspectives

Safeguarding is a complex and challenging topic, but one that must always be taken seriously and never ignored. Continuous learning and refreshers are enablers for organisations that can benefit from sharing their experiences with safeguarding with one another, identifying best practices and policies with the common goal of protecting the children.

In our conversation with our youth collaborator Abbernaa Dhevi (undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge, who also completed an internship with LeapEd recently) revealed an enriching perspective on reactions and collective action as a youth advocator:

"Through my mentorship engagements over the years, I realised early on that there are two components to child protection and safeguarding that education bodies must ensure are consistently present, regardless of the hiring body is a school, tuition centre, student-led initiative, or anything else. These two components also came up in our discussion.

Firstly, situational awareness and secondly, steadfastness in execution. These two components are clearly embodied in some really great NGOs such as Closing The Gap Malaysia, where I currently serve as a mentor.

For situational awareness, the problem with this component is that it may not be an innate quality of many people. Few grew up being exposed to experiences that would have taught them how to identify and accurately assess issues in children, while simultaneously ensuring boundaries are enforced. Hence, these skills must be taught and ingrained, especially if a person hired is new to their role.

This directly leads to the second component of child protection i.e., steadfastness in execution. Knowing issues is one thing but ensuring childcare is practiced is a whole other aspect. Any education body hiring someone to work with children cannot let their guard down. Ever. Those working with children must constantly be reminded that they will be held accountable for their conduct throughout their job, and this must be reinforced through compulsory child protection policy agreements, as ensured by Closing the Gap Malaysia for example.

The responsibility of ensuring children is protected in all ways must be upheld by education bodies at every point. And frankly, even if some people feel constant, diligent incorporation of these two components at every turn can be "overkill", it is my unwavering opinion that there is no such thing as "overreacting" when it comes to a child's wellbeing. Protection can never be an overreaction.

With the above in mind, it is imperative that we come to terms with the realities of the irregularities of observed/identified/suspected cases of child protection and safeguarding concern and that when responding regardless of industry/role, we need to consider both reactive and preventative approaches.

At LeapEd services, we acknowledge the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and are committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects child right’s conventions, Malaysian government legislation and complies with an international best practice including guidance issued by UNICEF and outcomes in line with the United Nations sustainable development goals.

Our team of consultants are certified in Child Protection and Safeguarding and can add lucidity and focus, helping school leaders, change-makers and educators articulate their values and bring clarity to bring improvement. For our upcoming offerings, do visit our website and look out for our upcoming Designated Safeguarding training in February >>