An essential element of your own Safeguarding policy is to understand what risks those you work with face.
The best way to do this is through consultation with your team, ideally with the project participants. Why? Because neighbourhoods change, and culture is changing quickly too. For example, cyber-bullying is only a problem for young people when they have access to the internet, and the number who have smartphones and other devices has grown hugely. This shows the importance of recognising that risks change and develop, but we may not always be aware of what they are or how they affect our communities and young people.
Risk mapping should be as comprehensive as possible. You could use the diagram in the previous section [Where are women and girls at risk?] to help you to categorise risks. You could also group risks according to the different places where your project operates, the different age groups or other characteristics of the people your project serves, or in other ways that make these risks very clear to anyone who reads your policy.
It is important to consider that some risks may be so new that we overlook them. One of these might be digital risks, as more and more of the young women and girls we work with have access to the internet. They may be exposed to dangers that we are not aware of. [Learn more about digital risks here]. Here is a useful resource to help you to understand these risks better: Digisafe [https://digisafe.thecatalyst.org.uk/chapters/start-here]
Facts, not judgments
We should write about the risks those we serve face factually. We should not blame young women and girls in danger, even as we seek to help them understand how to avoid those situations or provide them with alternative options.
- Who should you consult to understand best the risks those in your projects face?
- Can you map the risks that women and girls in your project face?