Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults

Safeguarding Children & Adults

April 2015
The Optical Confederation has published guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults for optical practitioners and optical practices. The guidance, developed in collaboration with the College of Optometrists and the Department of Health, sets out in a simple non-bureaucratic way, what optical staff and practices need to do. Details of common signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect are included with a simple protocol which all optical practitioners and staff can follow. The five step protocol has been designed to assist practitioners to:observe and record signs discuss with a senior colleague if appropriate act as appropriate (including informing the statutory agencies) confirming notification to and advice from local safeguarding contacts noting advice received and actions. 
The guidance also provides model notification forms to assist practitioners in focussing their observations and reporting to the statutory agencies as appropriate.

An online training module has been developed by Directorate of Optometric Continuing Education and Training (DOCET) to further assist optometrists when safeguarding children, available at:
All practitioners advised to complete the free DOCET safeguarding Children and safeguarding vulnerable Adults training. CET points awarded.

The Optical Confederation has guidance on safeguarding:

Guidance on Safeguarding and the Prevent strategy - Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults. Updated September 2014

Confirmation of reading this OC guidance is equivalent to Level 1 training for non-professional practice staff.

The Optical Confederation have advice on safeguarding:

Localised OC Safeguarding guidance Jan 2012.pdf

Female Genital Mutilation

As of 31 October 2015, the Department of Health has introduced a duty for all healthcare professionals to report any case of female genital mutilation in girls (FGM) under the age of 18 to the police.

FGM is considered as child abuse, and is illegal under UK law. It is now a legal duty for healthcare professionals to report any cases they may suspect or be made aware of. For optometrists and dispensing opticians, one scenario in which FGM could come to their attention is if a child tells them that it has happened to them.

Full guidance, posters and other resources can be found on the GOC website at:, or on the Department's website, where you can also find a video guide: