Exploring the support mechanisms health visitors use in safeguarding and child protection practice

Community Pract. 2015 Oct;88(10):42-5.


Health visitors lead the Healthy Child Programme (HCP), a universal public health service designed to give children the best start in life. Running through the HCP are responsibilities to safeguard and protect children. Supporting the role of the health visitor is essential to ensure quality interventions and improved outcomes for children. This article describes an empirical study. It explores the experiences and views of health visitors on the mechanisms of support they use for working in child protection and safeguarding. A qualitative approach was used to collect data from two focus groups. The data produced was transcribed and a thematic analysis used to produce the results. The results demonstrate that health visitors gain the majority of their support from their colleagues and from supervision processes. Also identified from the data analysis were three factors which health visitors felt supported their role. These were support for managing the emotions associated with child protection work, feeling safe and effective in practice and having time to reflect and evaluate casework.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Community Health Nursing*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Nurse's Role / psychology*
  • Public Health Practice
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support*