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Do you know the difference between ‘child protection’ and ‘safeguarding’?

BDJ Team volume 5, Article number: 18054 (2018) | Download Citation

By the Child Protection Company

Image: © Malte Mueller/Getty Images Plus

At the Child Protection Company (www.childprotectioncompany.com), we train dental teams every day to expand their awareness of safeguarding and child protection, starting from the very beginning: What is the definition of each?

Unfortunately, it isn't enough to be able to just quote facts when it comes to your next CQC inspection. The only acceptable way you can evidence your safeguarding knowledge is by showing your CQC inspector a verifiable training certificate for every employee in your dental practice. With an expiry date of around two years for safeguarding training in the UK, if you haven't refreshed your safeguarding knowledge in a while, it might be time to start making plans.

If that set your mind whirring with thoughts of all the appointments you'll have to reschedule in order to close the surgery for a training day, we don't blame you. After all, there is already so much pressure on dental teams in the UK to complete CPD each year. Safeguarding training is just one in a long list of required learning. It's the reason our team at the Child Protection Company has developed a variety of training courses to save busy dental teams a lot of time and unnecessary stress. Our courses can be taken entirely online, and they're easily accessible for everyone. So, whether you're working at the reception desk or in the surgery room, you'll find value in our training that you can implement in daily working life. Even better, you can pause and restart our courses to suit your schedule, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our Introduction to Adult/Child Protection online training course is the most popular choice for dental teams. In this course, you're introduced to the most important elements of safeguarding and child protection processes. For dental professionals who require training in line with Level 2 requirements, or for the Designated Safeguarding Professionals in your team, we recommend taking our Further Adult/Child Protection online training course too.

In our online safeguarding courses, we break learning down into modules, defining key words and phrases, introducing you to the main legislation and government guidance, outlining the signs and indicators of abuse, and detailing how best to respond to safeguarding concerns. Along the way, you'll find real-life case studies relevant to the dental environment to really put your learning into context.

For example, consider this scenario:

Rubi is a 22-year-old female who has been visiting your dental practice with her mum since she was a child. Rubi has a three-year-old daughter, Ella, who usually seems happy and playful, and is always dressed in nice clothes.

Rubi moved out of her mum's house with Ella last year to live with her new boyfriend in his flat on the other side of town. Rubi told you that she had a big argument with her mum, who doesn't like her new boyfriend. When you last spoke to Rubi's mum, she said she hadn't seen Rubi or Ella in many weeks and she was worried about them both.

At Rubi's last dental appointment, Ella was wearing a cardigan over her dress, which she took off while playing with toys in the waiting room. You noticed there was a large bruise on the top of Ella's arm. Rubi quickly made Ella put the cardigan back on when she saw you looking at the bruise and she told her not to take it off again.

At the same appointment, you overheard a phone call Rubi made to her boyfriend. You were unable to hear his exact words, but it sounded like he was shouting and angry. They seemed to be arguing about what time Rubi and Ella would be home. Rubi seemed very upset after the phone call and seemed in a rush to leave the dental practice.

Rubi and Ella did not attend their last scheduled appointment and it was Rubi's boyfriend who answered the phone when you called to reschedule. He said that Rubi was too busy to talk, so he booked the appointment for her. You thought he sounded polite and friendly on the phone.

Today, Rubi is visiting the practice for her next appointment. It has only been a few months since you last saw them, but you are shocked to see how different Rubi and Ella look. Rubi seems extremely tired. She is not wearing any makeup and has her hair tied back, unwashed. Ella is wearing dirty clothes and also looks very tired. She has a rash on her skin and a large, deep cut above her eyebrow.

Rubi asks you how long the appointment will be because her boyfriend is waiting for her outside and he needs to know. You find it strange that she doesn't smile or make conversation with you. Ella sits quietly on Rubi's lap in the waiting room and seems uninterested in playing with the toys. At the end of their appointment, Rubi tells you her boyfriend will be in touch to arrange the next appointment and leaves quickly.

In our Introduction to Adult/Child Protection online training course, we explore case studies similar to this one and let you choose the appropriate response to the scenario. The course guides you through the case study with information about the types of abuse that might be identifiable and reinforces your knowledge of the procedure for reporting.

In Rubi and Ella's scenario, it would be correct to assume that abuse is occurring behind the scenes and it is probably Rubi's new boyfriend who is the perpetrator. However, could you identify the specific types of abuse that have occurred? Is there evidence here to suggest that Ella is being neglected?

If an incident like this occurs in your dental practice, it is important to remember that it is not your job to decide what exactly is happening in the victim's personal life. Your duty as a dental professional is to identify potential abuse or neglect and to report what you have seen to the designated safeguarding person in your team, or to your line manager. You should never take matters into your own hands or try to investigate further, as this could make the situation much worse for those involved. Undoubtedly, the most helpful thing you can do as a dental professional is to prepare yourself with an appropriate level of up-to-date safeguarding training, which will help you to notice potential abuse or neglect, and report your concerns to the correct people.

The Child Protection Company is dedicated to safeguarding and has been training dental teams for over a decade, so we understand better than other training providers what you need to ensure that your learning is relevant and reflective of your environment. The British Dental Association (BDA) recommends our online training courses for dental teams in the UK, and each of our courses is worth three hours of verifiable training under the General Dental Council Lifelong Learning Scheme.

If your safeguarding training certificate is about to expire and you need to arrange training for your dental team, please get in touch with us by calling 01327 552030 or emailing help@childprotectioncompany.com today. A member of our friendly support team will be happy to discuss your options, or you can browse and access training courses online by visiting our website at www.childprotectioncompany.com.

We would like to remind dental teams that you are entitled to a discount on the Child Protection Company's online safeguarding training courses if you are an Essential or Extra member of the BDA. Expert members are also entitled to receive a free Introduction to Adult/Child Protection online course and a free Further Adult/Child Protection online course per each subscription year: http://www.childprotectioncompany.com/CPC/child-protection-training-dentists?L=BDJ318.

If you suspect a child or adult is in immediate danger, you should always dial 999 in the first instance.

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