Project Description

Securing Safety: A study into the scale and experience of relocation in response to extra-familial abuse.

There is an absence of a consistent evidence base about the rate and cost of out of area placements as a response to extra-familial harm in adolescence. There is a further absence of an evidence base linking this cost with an impact assessment of these ‘relocations’, considering multidimensional experiences of safety. This research project aims to contribute to the national picture of the relocation of adolescents exposed to/at risk of extra familial harm (EFH), in order to enable local authorities maximise the effectiveness of their interventions on young people’s and family’s experience of safety.

The research ran from January 2019 to September 2021. Dr Lauren Wroe, Project Lead, spent 2 days a week working on Securing Safety with Delphine Peace, Research Assistant.

The research asked, what is:

– the scale of relocation across the UK. How often do local authorities relocate adolescents due to exposure to/risk of EFH and in what circumstances?

– the cost of relocation across the UK. What is the total spend for local authorities on relocating adolescents due to exposure to/risk of EFH?

– the impact of relocation on local authorities and on the safety of young people and families who are relocated due to exposure to/risk of EFH.

To support this understanding, the team used the following methods:

  • Review of literature relating to extra-familial harm and relocations, the use of secure provision and experiences of managed moves.
  • An online survey to 15 local authorities across England and Wales to capture the rate at which relocation is used as a response to EFH
  • Semi-structured follow-up interviews with survey participants to contextualise the reported rate data
  • Consultation with young people, parents and professionals on study design to capture the views of young people, families and services on the experience of relocations
  • Interviews with finance managers and focus groups with social workers in three local authorities to approximate the cost of relocations
  • Activity-based and semi-structured interviews to capture the views of young people, parents and professionals on the impact of relocation on experiences of safety
  • Consultation with young people, parents and carers on dissemination strategies for policy makers, practitioners and families.
  • Multi-media dissemination of study findings to influence policy and support practitioners and families to navigate relocations.

Principal investigator: Carlene Firmin

Funder: Samworth Foundation

Contact: [email protected] (now [email protected])

Securing Safety phase one findings briefing: here and detailed methodology: here

Summary of phase two findings: here

Links to Securing Safety resources below.

A summary of the phase one results from the Securing Safety study

This briefing is structured to report the statistical and thematic findings of the first phase of the Securing Safety study. The objectives of the study are detailed, followed by a summary of the methodologies employed during each stage. Findings are ordered to report: the rate of relocation; the conditions under which those relocations occurred; the purpose for which they were used; their perceived impact, and the emerging tensions in the use of relocation – primarily whether their purpose is realised in their impact. The briefing closes with interim recommendations that emerge from this first phase dataset along with an outline of the second phase of the study.

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“We’ve had long discussions about the pros and cons of moving”: briefing launched outlining the first year findings into our study on the rate, cost and impact of relocation as a response to extra-familial harm

A blog post from the Contextual Safeguarding Network about the Securing Safety Phase one briefing launched outlining the first year findings into our study on the rate, cost and impact of relocation as a response to extra-familial harm

Read blog post here

Info-sheets for young people, parents and professionals

We have spoken to young people, parents and professionals with experience of relocations. Based on what they told us, these info-sheets highlight key things for young people, parents and professionals to consider when a move is on the table.

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Animation: Exploring the risks and safety factors that inform the rates of relocation for young people abused in extra-familial settings

This animations shares research findings from the first phase of the Securing Safety study, on the rate, cost and impact of relocations of young people in response to extra-familial harm. It is based on the following paper

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Last Resort or Best Interest? Exploring the Risk and Safety Factors That Inform the Rates of Relocation for Young People Abused in Extra-Familial Settings

When young people are harmed in extra-familial settings children’s services may place them into care at a distance from their home authority to remove them from contexts in which they are considered ‘at risk’. Guidance and regulation suggest such intervention be used as a last resort and only in a child’s best interests. Using survey and interview data, this article examines how relocations are used in response to extra-familial harm (EFH) in thirteen children’s services departments in England and Wales—exploring the extent to which they are intended to mitigate risk, or build safety, for young people

Click to read full paper

Securing Safety – Understanding the use of out of area placements as a response to extra-familial harm in adolescence

This blog post provides a summary of the whole study and outlines what we found, how we found it, and importantly, what this means for future policy and practice in this area.

Click to read blog post

Research briefing: The use of out-of-home and secure care in response to child sexual abuse/exploitation and trafficking – an international scoping review

This briefing shares findings from an international scoping review exploring the use of out-of-home care placements or secure accommodations to safeguard adolescents from extra-familial harm in child protection systems beyond the UK.

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Securing Safety – Understanding the use of out of area placements as a response to extra-familial harm in adolescence

Infographic outlining policy recommendations based on the findings of the Securing Safety research.

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