Working together to help keep children and vulnerable adults safe

Staff from across the NHS in Leeds are marking Safeguarding Week from 24 to 30 June to help raise awareness of the role we can all play in keeping children and vulnerable adults safe.

This year, safeguarding teams from NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH), Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) and the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) are focusing on the different forms of abuse and exploitation that can particularly affect vulnerable young people and adults and that may be masked by challenging behaviour.

By helping people recognise the signs of child sexual and criminal exploitation, modern day slavery and human trafficking and radicalisation, they aim to ensure that NHS staff, as well as parents and carers, know what to do if they have concerns.

Jo Harding, Director of Quality and Safety and Executive Lead for Safeguarding at the CCG, said: “There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to identify someone who is at risk of or actively being groomed for these purposes – and some of the signs may be mistaken for challenging behaviour, for example mood swings, secrecy and anger.

“Abuse and exploitation are incredibly hard for victims to talk about, especially with perceived authority figures. But NHS staff are in a unique position to see what others may not. We hope by reminding them to look beyond the surface of what they may be presented with, we can help keep our most vulnerable patients safe.”

Lindsay Britton-Robertson, Head of Safeguarding at LYPFT, said “The Trust is committed to keeping children, young people and vulnerable adults safe whilst in our services and on our premises.”

“We recognise our responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare and safety of our service users, their children and their families and have a dedicated safeguarding team who provide support, advice and training to all staff regarding safeguarding children and adult safeguarding concerns.”

Steph Lawrence, Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals at LCH, said: “We work with other healthcare providers to ensure our services contribute to objectives set out by the Government nationally, regionally and locally with regards to children’s and adult safeguarding.

“LCH value working with our partners in recognising the challenges that children, young people, parents, practitioners and Leeds residents have in trying to manage and understand highly complex safeguarding. LCH works to ensure that all agencies are aware of any emerging vulnerabilities and particularly high risk situations to enable the most appropriate support be offered.”

We all have a responsibility to help keep children and vulnerable adults safe. If you have concerns about someone you know – or if you’re worried about your own child – please contact the following services:

  • For concerns about a child or young person, contact Leeds Children’s Social Work Services during office hours (9.00am – 5.00pm) on 0113 2224403.
  • For concerns about an adult, contact Leeds Adult Social Care on 0113 222 4401 or 07712 106 378 (out of office hours)
  • If you think someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.