Cultural Competence in Safeguarding

In order for professionals to practice effectively in working with children and families from all backgrounds, it is vital that they practice in a way that is culturally competent in making assessments and offering interventions which will identify and manage the risk to children.

Cultural competence in safeguarding practice “puts children’s wellbeing and protection within the cultural context….cultural competence helps sort out which aspects of the family’s difficulties are ‘cultural’, which are neglectful, and which are a combination of factors”. Resources in this section will help support this approach to practice.

Locally in 2012, the Cambridgeshire LSCB identified challenges in practice through its case reviewing work arising from organisations being ill-equipped to work with diversity, culture, ethnicity and identity in safeguarding work. Additionally, the rapidly changing demography of Cambridgeshire presents challenges to practitioners which can be overcome though the development of knowledge and skills and an approach to safeguarding practice which supports an effective response to the complexity and changing nature of the needs of children and families.

As a result, a practice guidance has been developed to assist clear insight and effective action to protect and promote the welfare of children living in circumstances which appear to be complex because of their faith, culture, nationality and possible recent history. Please click here to view/download the Cambridgeshire LSCB Practice guidance for effective safeguarding of children from minority ethnic, cultural and faith communities, groups and families.

In the UK, local authorities have a statutory duty to protect and promote safeguarding for all children and young people living in their area.

While local authorities have a key role in protecting children from potential harm, safeguarding is everyone's responsibility. 

Anyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role.

If you've been in contact with organisations providing support to families, it is good to know what you can do:

  • Ask for an interpreter/translator if you do not fully understand the English language and let someone know in advance that you need help. 
  • Please make sure you ask any questions so that you fully understand all the information. 
  • If you have a meeting with someone, it is a good idea to take written notes and confirm that you understand everything that has been discussed.  You can also request for the meeting notes to be sent to you if you need further clarification.
  • If somehow you feel uncomfortable or unhappy for any reason, it is advisable to speak openly about whatever is bothering you. 
  • Do not accept any form of abuse or insult from anyone.

Please note that the above is the original English text and Leaflets are available in Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovak & Romanian.