University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Common Vigilance: A Perspective On the Role of the Community in Safeguarding Children

Richards, Claire ORCID: and Gallagher, Stuart (2017) Common Vigilance: A Perspective On the Role of the Community in Safeguarding Children. In: Contemporary Issues in Childhood A Bio-ecological Approach. Taylor and Francis, Oxon, pp. 84-93. ISBN 978-1-138-20086-9 ebook: 9781315513843

Richards & Gallagher (2017) Common Vigilance.pdf - Accepted Version

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Since the Children Act 2004 (HMG, 2004), it has become commonplace to read that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. No distinction is made, though, between ‘everyone’ individually and ‘everyone’ collectively, with the result that efforts to unpick exactly how everyone is able to respond to children’s safeguarding and protection needs are frustrated. This chapter asks whether or not ‘community’ is a useful concept to help organise these efforts and to prevent the slogan from unhelpfully collapsing the issue of responsibility together. It considers Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and bio-ecological model (Bronfenbrenner and Ceci, 1994) to understand how community might animate child protection efforts at a level beyond the scope of distinct families but without encompassing statutory responsibility either. Bourdieu’s concept of ‘habitus’ (Shusterman, 1999) is used to examine the social worlds of children in their respective communities to understand the risk and vulnerabilities of children, on the one hand, and the safeguarding responses by concerned adults in the community. Recent analysis of serious case reviews (SCRs) and inquiries relating to child sexual exploitation to understand how the ‘community’ inform the discussion of communitylevel communication regarding common concerns for children’s safety and well-being. The chapter proposes that common vigilance may serve as a more robust concept than does community in efforts to produce social conditions that secure children’s safety from maltreatment. The chapter encourages you to consider your position as a professional who embodies interest in children’s safety from harm as well as compliance with statutory procedures and expectations of competence.

Item Type: Book Section
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Contemporary Issues in Childhood: A Bio-ecological Approach on 21st July 2017, available online:

Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Education
Academic Departments > Institute of Health and Society
Depositing User: Claire Richards
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 13:32
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2019 01:00

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