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  • Writer's pictureHelen Haydock

Creating layers of protection for child safety


Hands placed on top of each other

In my previous article, I discussed the overall concept of a Child Safe organisation. Let’s delve deeper into the importance of implementing multiple layers of protection and avoiding reliance on a single strategy alone. No single tool can guarantee 100% child safety. Therefore, organisations must establish a range of strategies to minimise the risk of harm, encourage children to speak up, and ensure appropriate responses to concerns or complaints.


Recognising the limits of strategies

Every strategy or process used by organisations has its limitations. It is crucial for organisations working with children to acknowledge these limitations and work around them. As a parent or guardian, it's important to ensure that organisations are not overly dependent on a single strategy or tool.


The Swiss Cheese analogy
Slice of yellow Swiss cheese with see through holes

Let's visualise child safety using a simple analogy: Swiss cheese. Imagine each protective measure as a slice of cheese with holes. Each slice, on its own, has gaps that can be seen through.



Block of Swiss cheese with some small divots



However, when we layer numerous slices together, we create a solid block with no significant gaps.






The importance of layered strategies

Similarly, when we approach child safety, each individual strategy or tool is like a slice of Swiss cheese—there will always be gaps. Over the next few weeks, we will explore some of these gaps in detail. However, by layering various strategies and tools together, just like stacking slices of Swiss cheese, we reduce the likelihood of significant gaps that could pose risks to children.


Understanding ongoing risks

Unfortunately, risks to children will always exist, whether from individuals intentionally seeking to harm children or due to organisations lacking sufficient tools and strategies for ensuring child safety. However, the more safeguards an organisation has in place, the better equipped they are to protect children.


Looking ahead

In our next article, we will begin examining specific strategies and tools that organisations can use, as well as their potential gaps. We will also provide insights for parents and guardians on what to look for in terms of child safety measures.



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