On November 1st, the government launched the Children First Awareness Week. The goal of this initiative is to remind us all that we have a responsibility to keep the children in our community safe.
Children First encourages the protection of children from neglect and abuse. It enables both individuals and organisations to safeguard children, by outlining what they can do to keep children safe, how they can identify signs of neglect and abuse, and how to report any concerns that they have about a child’s wellbeing.
To raise awareness of Children First, the government has created a new website (gov.ie/childrenfirst) that provides more information about Children First and how we can all protect the children that we meet.
As an SPSV operator, you play an important role in safeguarding the children that you come into contact with as part of your job. Many children throughout Ireland use taxi services regularly, to get to school, appointments, and so on. Some use these services frequently and you may even know them well.
As you have close contact with the children that travel with you, you may witness signs of neglect or incidents of abuse that concern you. If you are not sure how to recognise signs of neglect and abuse, you can learn more here: https://www.tusla.ie/children-first/individuals-working-with-children-and-young-people/what-are-the-types-of-abuse-and-how-do-i-recognise-them/.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, follow the guidance on reporting your concerns in the Children First National Guidance: https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Children_First_National_Guidance_2017.pdf. However, in emergency situations where you believe that there is an immediate or serious risk to the child’s safety, contact An Garda Síochána.
To learn more about how you can do your part in protecting children, visit the gov.ie/childrenfirst website.