Introduction

The purpose of the RCGP Child Safeguarding Toolkit is to support and enable best practice in safeguarding and child protection. This includes setting out the roles and responsibilities of GPs and their staff, in the recognition and referral of situations that indicate that a child (including an unborn child) may be at risk of significant harm.

The toolkit has been designed with the needs of the busy frontline practitioner, and useful links to updates on policy and practice for those who have a more senior leadership role.

Successful practice in safeguarding and child protection can be incredibly rewarding. However, the challenging nature of this topic, together with the emotional toil, should be acknowledged. Working with others is key to achieving best outcomes.

A fundamental first step is to ensure that all practice staff (clinical, clerical and admin staff and volunteers) know how they can access advice and support when they are worried about a child (normally from the Practice Safeguarding Lead or Deputy); seek further advice (for example, from the Named GP or local Designated Professionals) and to understand the local pathway for referral to statutory child protection leads (that is, social care, the police or the NSPCC). Induction, in-house training and reflective 'whole practice' learning can all help to support practitioners and staff in this important role.

The vision of the RCGP is that the safeguarding of adults and children will be embedded into everyday routine general practice and become a normal part of ongoing holistic care. This toolkit helps to support that vision.

The toolkit is designed to support GPs and Primary Care in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Although each nation has their own legislation, the principles of safeguarding are largely the same.

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