Our safeguarding and digital safeguarding policies and procedures

Safeguarding is our first priority at Girlguiding

05 October 2022

We review and update our safeguarding and digital safeguarding policies and procedures every year, so we know we’re following best practice for keeping our members and volunteers safe. 

We’ve also been making some changes to how we present our policies, and we hope this makes them easier to read and understand, as well as finding the information you need. 

In April this year, we held consultations to get your thoughts on how we can do better, thank you to the more than 450 of you that responded.  

We used your feedback to make our safeguarding policy expectations clearer. But don't worry, we haven't changed what we expect from our volunteers. We also had feedback asking for more clarity about joint events, external visitors at unit meetings and involving parents, so we've added a bit on that too. We've also clarified how Girlguiding supports volunteers raising a concern via county commissioners and safeguarding leads at the country and region level.  

To reflect charity sector best practice, we've now replaced ‘peer on peer’ abuse with ‘child on child’ abuse. We’ve also added a new type of harm called ‘non-recent’ abuse, following guidance from the NSPCC. 

When it comes to the safeguarding procedure, we've made a few small changes too. We've changed the way we present information, so we hope it's easier to find your responsibilities and how to contact the HQ safeguarding team. We've also removed the information we had about data protection as this can be all be found in our new Managing information policy.  

We've also added a section for young people and what they should do if they have a concern, extra information about speaking to parents and carers, and what you can expect when a referral is made by HQ.  

Finally, you may see that we've added a ‘Safeguarding reporting box’ to the top of the page. This is to make it as easy as possible to contact the HQ Safeguarding team, should you need to. 

Our changes to the digital safeguarding policy reflect charity sector best practice. We've added some new online harms that you need to be aware of, including ‘promotion of self-harm, suicide and eating disorders’, ‘radicalisation and extremism’, and ‘harmful online challenges and hoaxes’.  

In the procedure, we've removed the information about photos and videos, as you can find this in the managing information procedure. We've added new rules for social media, including personal social media accounts.

Finally, we've clarified and amended the rules on contacting different age groups, including young external volunteers and young members in working groups. We also added a new section which we hope answers some of your common questions.