Safeguarding children

NSPCC identified 48,000 children and young people in need of child protection last year. However, they estimate that for every 1 child they identify, another 8 are suffering from abuse.

Our work addresses a wide range of concerns, and relates equally to all children with a focus on prevention and fostering a culture of safety. It encompasses child protection which focusses on those children who are suffering, or are at risk of suffering, significant harm as a result of abuse and neglect. Child protection focuses on protecting these children from harm.

The law says that, in her work, the Children's Commissioner should have particular regard to children living away from home or receiving social care, as set out in Part 6, Section 8A of the Children and Families Act 2014. We have identified children in care as one of our key priorities.

Our priorities

  • Parental alcohol misuse

We will be continuing our work on parental alcohol misuse. The work aims to identify the steps service providers and co-ordinating bodies need to take, including health and social care services, to address children's safety and diminish the impact of problem drinking on children.

  • Children in care and living away from home

We need to be more ambitious for children growing up in care to secure real improvements and outcomes for them. We would like the Government to commit to fully funded and continued support for all children in care up to the age of 21. We would also like to see an end to bed and breakfast accommodation.

Our safeguarding work

  • Child protection in schools

Primary schools:

The National Association of Head Teachers welcomed our report: "You have someone to trust". They echo the findings that strong leadership is key to embedding good practice throughout the education system. The report was mentioned by Edward Timpson, Minister for Children.

Secondary schools:

Recommendations from the report: ‘Feeling Safe, Keeping Safe: Good practice in safeguarding and child protection in secondary schools’ were widely implemented including at Norfolk Country Council and Wiltshire County Council

  • Safeguarding guidelines: best practice

In March 2014 the Department for Education issued our safeguarding guidance to schools, referring them as best practice advice, rather than produce their own materials.

  • Parental Alcohol Misuse

We have published two reports on parental alcohol misuse: Silent Voices and I think you need to show someone what help there is. A number of drug and alcohol teams and county councils have said they are using our reports to inform their work, assessment and strategy. Following our submission to the Department for Education Consultation on amendments to Individual Pupil Information Prescribed Persons Regulations, the draft regulations were amended to introduce a requirement that all data sharing had to be for the purpose of “promoting the education or well-being of the child”. This links to one of our key recommendations.


Our safeguarding work has particular regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Articles 3, 12, 19 and 39.

Learn more about our work on child sexual abuse...