Keeping people young people safe from harm is not inevitable. Laws have been passed to offer protection from harm and to direct organisations to act to prevent harm. Guidance is issued and policies are developed setting expectations for implementation. However, greater clarity and additional support is needed for the youth sector, which is represented by range of stakeholders from statutory services to charities, community groups, businesses, uniformed, faith-based and specialist organisations. These sector partners deliver diverse provision including open-access and targeted youth services, detached or outreach youth work, out of school activities and volunteering opportunities.
In youth organisations and groups across the country action is taken every day to proactively prevent harm: training is delivered, background checks are made and risk assessments completed. Youth workers are the port of call for many who are facing abuse, neglect and exploitation. For young people – and for staff, volunteers and other community members – youth organisations and services can offer safe spaces to seek support and help. The lynchpin in these organisations efforts to keep people safe is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).