Developing contextual responses to the abuse and exploitation of young people

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Social care

Last updated: Tue 05, 2018

Social care practitioners safeguard young people on a day to day basis, and therefore can take a lead on implementing Contextual Safeguarding. Current social care systems and procedures encourage practitioners to safeguard through the assessment and response to risk posed by the family. However, young people frequently experience harm outside of the family, in a range of different contexts. The Contextual Safeguarding model provides a framework for which extra-familiar risk can be identified, assessed and responded to, expanding the objectives of child protection systems in recognition that young people are vulnerable to abuse in a range of social contexts. Contextual Safeguarding, then, can sit at the heart of social care services and practice. 

The University of Bedfordshire’s project with Hackney Council Children and Families service is working to embed Contextual Safeguarding across social care services. As part of this, the Contextual Safeguarding Team has developed a range of additional key resources to support practitioners to contexualise approaches and processes for safeguarding young people. Key resources and tools for practitioners can be found below. 

Developing ways of working

This toolkit includes a range of tools for carrying out a school assessment including: videos, student and parent surveys, staff engagement and an assessment framework.

These new resources and podcast explain how to conduct safety mapping to help practitioners identify areas of risk and safety in their local neighbourhood. Safety mapping can be used for safety planning with children, families and networks.

These new resources and podcast outline how to carry out a contextual case consultation. They can be be used to support practitioners think through the different elements of cases of extra-familial risk to develop effective interventions. 

The Contextual Safeguarding Audit Toolkit supports practitioners to audit partnership responses to peer-on-peer abuse.

Social care

Peer on peer abuse: safeguarding implications of contextualising abuse between young people within social fields

Dr Carlene Firmin

An existing body of research indicates that peer-on-peer abuse, involving the physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse of young people by their peers, is an issue of serious concern within the UK. Whilst a range of studies have explored the individual and familial vulnerabilities associated with this phenomenon, there is an increasing recognition of the need to also consider the relationship between young people's peer groups, and other pertinent social fields, to their experiences of such abuse. This thesis offers an original contribution to the field by explicitly seeking to develop this contextual approach.

Safeguarding teenagers from sexual exploitation and violence outside the home

Carlene Firmin (International Centre) speaks on safeguarding teenagers from sexual exploitation and violence outside the home, and the importance of taking a contextual approach, in this video. 

Social care

Developing holistic and coordinated strategic approaches to peer-on-peer abuse

Carlene Firmin with George Curtis, Danielle Fritz, Paul Olaitan, Lia Latchford, Jenny Lloyd and Ikamara Larasi

In this extract from the report 'Towards a Contextual Response to Peer-on-Peer Abuse: Research and Resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016', researchers discuss how they helped local sites improve the coordination in their response to safeguarding adolescents in general and peer-on-peer abuse specifically.  If you would like a copy of the slides or editable copies of the resources within this extract, then Contact Us.

Developing practice: Working with marginalised groups

In this podcast, Jahnine Davis (Center of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse) discusses developing practice for working with marginalised groups and what this means for implementing trauma informed responses. If you have any questions Jahnine can be contacted via jahnine.davis@csacentre.org.uk.

Detached youth work

Belen Bueso-Alberdi (Targeted Youth Worker, London Borough of Barnet) and Danielle Fritz discuss intervening in young people's social spaces through detached youth work in this video. For more information, please see our briefing on detached youth work provision.

Social care

Working with schools and alternative education providers

Carlene Firmin with George Curtis, Danielle Fritz, Paul Olaitan, Lia Latchford, Jenny Lloyd and Ikamara Larasi

This extract from the report 'Towards a Contextual Response to Peer-on-Peer Abuse: Research and Resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016' highlights the role that education providers may play in responding to peer-on-peer abuse.  The extract discusses the potential for working with Fair Access Panels and opportunities for creating whole school approaches to respond to peer-on-peer abuse. If you would like a copy of the slides or editable copies of the resources within this extract, then Contact Us.

Social care

Engagement of community, specialist and voluntary organisations

Carlene Firmin with George Curtis, Danielle Fritz, Paul Olaitan, Lia Latchford, Jenny Lloyd and Ikamara Larasi

This extract from the report 'Towards a Contextual Response to Peer-on-Peer Abuse: Research and Resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016' highlights researchers' work with community, voluntary and specialist organisations in the response to peer-on-peer abuse.  The extract discusses a train-the-trainer programme, a study on detached youth work provision and building awareness and partnerships amongst community sector provision.  If you would like a copy of the slides or editable copies of the resources within this extract, then Contact Us.

Carrying out focus groups with young people: key considerations for practitioners

In this podcast, Liz Ackerley (International Centre) outlines the importance of participatory methods and key considerations for practitioners when carrying out focus groups with young people. 

“She doesn’t have to get in the car…”: Exploring social workers’ understandings of sexually exploited girls as agents and choice-makers

This video from Sarah Lloyd (University of Huddersfield) outlines the findings from research exploring social workers' understandings of sexually exploited girls as agents and choice-makers. The presentation was delivered at the Royal Geographical Societies Annual Conference 2017 on 'Contextual safeguarding: Approaches to exploitation and abuse of children and young people beyond the home'.

Assessment

Social care

Incorporating contexts into assessments

Carlene Firmin with George Curtis, Danielle Fritz, Paul Olaitan, Lia Latchford, Jenny Lloyd and Ikamara Larasi

This extract from the report 'Towards a Contextual Response to Peer-on-Peer Abuse: Research and Resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016' discusses how practitioners may use peer group information capture forms and Asset Plus to incorporate contexts into assessments.  If you would like a copy of the slides or editable copies of the resources within this extract, then Contact Us.

The Contextual Safeguarding Audit Toolkit supports practitioners to audit partnership responses to peer-on-peer abuse.

The HSB assessment tool provides practitioners with a revised framework for harmful sexual behaviour MAP or strategy meetings. 

Interventions

Social care

Sexual Exploitation and Its Impact on Developing Sexualities and Sexual Relationships: The Need for Contextual Social Work Interventions

Carlene Firmin, Camille Warrington and Jenny Pearce

This article considers how young people’s developing sexualities are influenced by extra-familial social and cultural contexts, particularly in relation to experiences of sexual violence.  It draws upon young people’s voices to illustrate the choices they make when they encounter, or engage with, exploitative contexts. Utilising the cumulative evidence base of our studies into sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence over the past ten years, we employ Bourdieu’s theory of the interplay between structure and agency to elucidate the relationship between young people’s choices and abusive social environments. When navigating or engaging with exploitative contexts, young people’s sexualities can be distorted through abusive normalising processes; coercive practices; professional attitudes which condone abuse; and/or structural inequalities that call for survivalist behaviours amongst young people. In exploring this social model of consent, we highlight the need to move beyond one to one (1:1) social work practices to engage with situations, contexts and relationships that disrupt young people’s developing sexualities. Such an adaptation of social work practice would adopt principles of ‘contextual safeguarding’ and we conclude by offering illustrations of interventions that have begun to explore this developmental pathway. The article can be accessed here.

Social care

Peer group mapping: practitioners briefing

The Contextual Safeguarding Network's second learning project evidences how practitioners develop and use peer-group maps and generate knowledge on a young person’s peer associations in order to assess their vulnerability or develop plans to keep them safe. The briefing is available to members of the network only via this link.

Peer-Group Mapping

Jenny Lloyd (International Centre) talks about peer group mapping and the importance of considering peer groups when assessing risk for extra-familial abuse.

Social care

From genograms to peer group mapping: Introducing peer relationships into social work assessment and intervention

Carlene Firmin

Despite evidence that young people’s peer relationships are associated with their experiences of abuse, child protection guidance directs social work practice to be primarily focused on the assessment of, and intervention with, families. Presenting data from two studies into the nature of, and safeguarding response to, peer abuse in England, this article questions the familial parameters of child protection frameworks, and evidences the need to include peer group relationships within social work assessment. Drawing on Bourdieu’s sociological theory, a conceptual framework is used to evidence that familial-focused practice fails to address the extra-familial social conditions in which peer abuse manifests. Complimenting an international evidence base that promotes ecological responses to adolescent welfare and social service development, this article suggests that advancing knowledge of peer group assessment and intervention should form a central part of the child protection research agenda. The article can be accessed here

In this post, Police Inspector Mark Pearson writes about the early intervention efforts of the Margate Task Force.  He discusses contextual approaches to safeguarding, such as geo-mapping, peer group analysis and profiling.  He also writes about multi-agency working through Family Support Panels and ‘Gangs – Need to Know’ sessions.

Posted: Thu Oct, 2016

Practice examples

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