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Safeguarding Children Initiative sparking positive change in child protection

Since 2011, Safeguarding Children Initiative has been at the forefront of ensuring children and young people are living without abuse and neglect.

A team of professionals working in the field of child protection, Safeguarding Children identified an immediate and critical need to train adults who have contact with children, youths and families through their job or as a community member.

Safeguarding Children marketing manager Liz Crawshaw says teaching people to notice the signs of abuse and neglect and what to do about it is essential if we are to tackle New Zealand’s poor record on abuse.

“There is very limited training available, so we are here trying to fill that gap and offer training to community groups, and really it’s all about changing perceptions and beliefs,” she said.

“Child protection training is only part of the picture – a key part of what we do is also helping organisation develop review their policies, processes and procedures. It’s all about creating safe environments for children.”

Safeguarding Children capacity development and presenter Louise Petzold said she has multiple examples of situations where the training provided had saved a child from an unsafe environment.

“One particular training session we had with a GP practice we spent some time talking to them afterwards…. Very quickly we had ten different people in the practice flagging alerts around a child and a whānau,” she said.

“Somebody might miss an indicator, and then they have the training and suddenly their eyes are further opened to risk and vulnerability.”

Liz added: “We offer a flexible, blended learning approach that we tailor to an organisation’s needs. We run a range of workshops and seminars face to face, and we also have online courses. We are the only provider of New Zealand-focused, publicly-available online child protection courses. Our flagship course, Fundamentals of Child Protection, has been taken by many thousands of people. We just introduced a new course – Child Protection for Local Government Children’s Workers – and there are more to come.”