What is child safety and safeguarding?

Home » What is child safety and safeguarding?

Safeguarding protects a child or young person’s health, wellbeing and human rights, enabling them to live free from harm. Read more below about how adults are supposed to treat you. 

As a child, you have a right to safety and a sense of wellbeing. This is true no matter what your age, gender, culture, religion, sexual identity, education level, or where you live.

You have the right to be heard and the right to privacy. Your body belongs to you and no one can touch your body unless you say a clear “yes”. You have the right to say “no” when you feel scared, uncomfortable or unsafe. 

Sometimes we can’t say “no” because we freeze or we are not confident saying “no”. 

Even if you are silent, or don’t say the word “no”, no one should touch your body without you giving them permission with a clear “yes”. This is called affirmative consent.

This also means that if a person is silent, unsure, passed out, asleep, or drunk then they haven’t said a clear “yes” and are not giving consent. 

Children always have a right to feel safe, and if you don’t, you can tell an adult you trust. Trusted adults will listen to what you have to say because your thoughts and feelings matter.

You also have a right to be safe online, and to be able to learn, have fun and connect with people without feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. If anything happens online that you don’t like, you can tell a trusted adult. You should still tell them even if you’re embarrassed about what happened, or about what you said to someone or sent to someone.

Find out where to go for help to have an image removed from the internet.

The law protects you from certain things and from certain people that can make a situation unsafe, or harm your wellbeing. 

Your body is your space. No one should touch, or ask to look at, the private parts of your body, or make you look at theirs. You should also listen when other people tell you they do not want to be touched, looked at, photographed or videoed and you should respect their privacy too.

Sometimes, an adult (like a parent, carer, doctor or nurse) might need to touch you for health or hygiene reasons. But they should ask you first and explain what they’re doing and it is never to be a secret.

A private part includes breasts, bottom, anus, mouth, and genitals (penis, scrotum, vulva and vagina). In your family you might call these body parts different names and they can be a bit embarrassing to talk about, but knowing the right words can help you explain if something is happening that you don’t like.

Pornography can be images, anime, videos, texts, and books, and contains sexually explicit material designed to arouse or create sexual enjoyment for the person viewing it.

If you have access to the internet (on a phone, computer, tablet or Xbox) you could, and probably will, see pornography.

About half of boys have seen porn by age 13, and about half of girls have seen porn by the age of 15. It is easier for young people to come across porn than to avoid it.

Pornography is often unrealistic and shows unsafe sex including:

  • not using condoms
  • violence against women and children
  • lack of consent and autonomy
  • unhealthy relationships.

Pornography can make sex confusing, but it’s important to remember:

  • when someone says no or nothing at all, that doesn’t mean yes
  • when someone is turned on, they can control themselves
  • people don’t like to be strangled or forced into sex
  • sex should be pleasurable for everyone.

You might find it difficult to talk with your safe adults about pornography. They can visit the  ThinkUKnow website or the It’s time we talked website to learn how to make these talks easier.