Developing contextual responses to the abuse and exploitation of young people


Contextual Assessment Framework

Last updated: Mon 02, 2017

Contextual Assessment Framework


The video above guides practitioners through the process of using the framework.  We recommend that you view this prior to piloting the framework.  This video is best viewed in full-screen mode.


In one site we have worked with, children and young people’s services had begun to pilot a process for HSB meetings. This process was initiated following the identification of a number of peer-on-peer CSE cases and NFA decisions by criminal justice agencies. Professionals within the site identified the need to have multi-agency oversight and plans for young people subject to HSB NFA decisions. In a number of these cases professionals had multiple concerns about those they suspected of abusing their peers and wanted a consistent approach to managing these concerns – in a shared, multi-agency structure.

Under the leadership of children and young people’s services a terms of reference for the meetings were drafted and circulated to the multi-agency partnership within the site. Multi-agency planning meetings were undertaken in accordance with the terms of reference to review decisions about young people where there were HSB concerns and used risk, vulnerability and strength factors from the AIM2 assessment to guide conversation. The research team observed two of these HSB MAP meetings and analysed the minutes of 15 further meetings comparing the activity at meetings to the evidence base on HSB. Combining the research evidence with the meeting structure adopted by the site, researchers produced a revised framework for HSB MAP of strategy meetings.

The approach proposed by the research team maintained the general structure and attendance introduced by the site. Revisions attempted to bring discussion of context to the fore - with reference to both planned interventions and assessment of risk/vulnerability/strengths. Prior to the involvement of researchers there was a discrete place on the agenda for a discussion of context but this part of the meetings had been largely limited. The researchers produced a template for minuting discussions which required the routine recording of contextual information throughout the meeting. Therefore risks, vulnerabilities and strengths within contexts as well as individuals were recorded – and interventions for contexts as well as with individuals were considered.

Having piloted the revised framework the site requested that box to summarise the contextual discussion also be added to the template. Following this change an introductory section was added to the template – allowing the reproduction of HSB meetings in other sites. The primary intention of the framework was to guide discussion about NFA cases in a way that enabled the identification of interventions within contexts associated to the abusive incidents (including peer groups and schools etc.) It also provided a means by which to explore the more contextual dynamics of peer-on-peer abuse which are particularly, although not exclusively, pertinent for group-based HSB. The single point of contact for HSB meetings within the site reported that:

For sites interested in repeating this process it is critical that the principles for conducting HSB meetings be considered. These are fundamental to the meeting process and make sense of the approach enabled through the framework. Whether the meeting used is a strategy meeting, MAP or some other form is less important. The framework is intended to enhance any existing meeting structure rather than necessarily introduce new processes. It also doesn’t introduce a new assessment process. It draws upon the AIM2 categories (used by most sites across the country) but applies them to contexts as well as individuals to enable a contextual discussion. As such it provides a means by which to contetxualise existing meetings where HSB cases are discussed and in doing so offers a mechanism for identifying ways to change the social conditions in which peer-on-peer abuse is occurring where 1:1 intervention is a greater challenge to deliver.


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