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About this guide

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Who this guide is for

This guide is for trustees, staff and volunteers who are involved in safeguarding in charities or voluntary organisations in England. It will be especially useful for designated safeguarding leads, lead trustees for safeguarding and anyone leading safeguarding training.

What this guide will tell you

The guide aims to help you understand your legal duties in relation to safeguarding. It explains what charities – and the staff and volunteers within them – must do, have discretion to do, and must not do in relation to safeguarding. As a result, it will help you take a risk-based and proportionate approach to safeguarding decisions in your organisation.

You can use this guide to:

  • answer queries from trustees, staff or volunteers
  • inform how you train others about their safeguarding duties
  • develop your own policies and procedures
  • check that statutory agencies are meeting their legal responsibilities to your organisation and people who are, or may be, at risk of harm
  • inform people in need of protection of their legal rights in relation to safeguarding.

How to use this guide

How we developed this guide

This specialist guide explains the key legal duties (responsibilities) of charities and voluntary organisations in relation to safeguarding, but it’s not an exhaustive guide to the law. It contains general information and is not a substitute for specific legal advice about your particular situation. See our legal advice and assistance page for suggested sources of advice for voluntary organisations.

If your organisation delivers regulated services for children or adults at risk you’ll need to comply with other laws and regulations, along with those set out in this guide.

Further information

Last reviewed: 15 June 2022

Help us improve this content

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 15 June 2022

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