The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed all our lives, and everyone in the UK has had to adapt to new ways of living, working and volunteering.
For many children and families, this is a particularly challenging time. Some families are under a lot of stress. Children who are experiencing abuse and neglect may be finding it harder to speak out. And it can be more difficult for adults who work or volunteer with children to recognise and respond to child protection concerns without regularly talking to a child face-to-face
But it’s vital that children’s safety and wellbeing is prioritised.
Keeping children safe during the pandemic
The voluntary and community sector has always had an important role in supporting children and families. Since the pandemic began, many new community groups have been set up to support vulnerable people across the UK. Other groups and organisations are continuing to adapt their services so they can engage with and support young people throughout the pandemic.
If you are a part of a new voluntary group, you must make sure you’re keeping children safe.
And even if your organisation or group already has robust safeguarding and child protection measures in place, there are likely to be extra considerations during these challenging times.
Your organisation or group may feel like there’s a lot to do at the moment. Moving to more online services might have presented extra challenges in terms of maintaining safe working practices.
You might be operating with reduced finances and fewer staff and volunteers. You might be worried about some of the children you work with. You may also be trying to get to grips with how you can run your activities safely as social distancing measures change across the UK, particularly as tier restrictions and national lockdowns are put in place.
So we’ve pulled together some resources that can help everyone in the voluntary and community sector safeguard and protect children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes information about:
- writing and updating safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures
- making sure your staff and volunteers are safe to work with children
- supporting children and families
- recognising and responding to abuse
- carrying out online activities and events.
- an overview of the relevant guidance on running safe activities.