Safeguarding describes the measures that are in place to help protect adults, children and young people from abuse or neglect. It relates to the need to protect certain people who may be at risk of abuse or neglect due to the actions (or lack of action) by another person or organisation.
Members of a dental team have a responsibility for the welfare of anyone attending the practice, which is not limited to their clinical care. As health professionals, we have a vital role to play in identifying and responding to abuse and neglect, as shown by Serious Case Reviews and Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews where children and adults at risk have experienced serious harm.
Robust safeguarding practices reduce the opportunities for children and adults to experience abuse and neglect. They allow the dental profession to support statutory partners in both preventing abuse and promoting the health and welfare of both patients and wider society. This advice outlines current expectations on safeguarding practice for members of the dental team.