Developing contextual responses to the abuse and exploitation of young people

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Interventions Catalogue

In order to address the locations and social settings where young people are at risk of harm, practitioners need interventions which target contexts as well as working alongside young people. The Contextual Safeguarding team have been working with organisations and agencies across the UK and internationally to develop and capture learning on interventions that address risks in a range of contexts.

This Interventions Catalogue provides examples and summaries of a range of interventions that could be used in different contexts. Click on an intervention to find out more. Each intervention can also be downloaded as a PDF document. This catalogue will continue to grow as we learn about new interventions from partners.

Do you know of a great contextual intervention? If so we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at contextual.safeguarding@beds.ac.uk

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Restorative Justice

Summary

Restorative Justice is used in many different ways, places and by different people across the world to resolve a situation and/or re-build relationships after an event or conflict

Description

Restorative justice interventions are used by mental health professionals, social and youth justice services to resolve conflict. A restorative intervention can take many forms, including:

  • Victim offender conference or mediation: formal face to face meeting between victim and offender led by a trained facilitator. Supporters for both parties can also attend, usually family members;
  • A community conference: similar to a victim offender conference but involves members of the community who have been affected by a crime;
  • Indirect communication: involves messages being passed back and forth between victims and offender by a trained facilitator. Participants do not meet and messages can be passed via letter, recorded video or audio.

Restorative approaches can also be used in schools to prevent or alleviate problems such as bullying, classroom disruption, truancy, antisocial behaviour and disputes between students, families and members of staff.

Who is it for?

Safeguarding and school professionals, families, young people

Find out more

See the Restorative Justice Council’s website for how this approach can be used in a range of settings, including Youth Offending Teams, Schools and the Community.

Access here

Business Engagement

Summary

Awareness raising and training of businesses to help them identify and respond to safeguarding concerns in their premises

Description

It is important to raise the awareness of businesses, particularly those where young people are likely to spend time (such as retail businesses, food outlets, leisure industry, transport, pubs and the night time economy) on how to spot and report safeguarding concerns. Businesses can be provided with information on key contact points and resources that are available in their neighbourhood, such as children’s social care, youth services, including youth hubs or outreach provision. Local business associations or community schemes such as Pub Watch can also facilitate information-sharing and joined responses to safeguarding concerns.

Who is it for?

Businesses, Prevention and Early Intervention teams

Find out more

See examples of business engagement in the briefing ‘Responding to Safeguarding Concerns in Local Businesses and Neighbourhoods’ available on the Contextual Safeguarding network.

Access here.

Community Guardians

Summary

Identifying and training people within the community to become guardians can ensure that adults in the community can provide a safeguarding role, create safer environments and refer concerns

Description

Community guardians are adults who spend time in neighbourhood places that could provide a safeguarding role. For example, park wardens, local takeaway owners or hairdressers. This may involve identifying adults that already provide a guardian role or adults that are located in areas young people spend time and providing them with training or resources to support them to provide a safeguarding role. This might include training on identifying harm, how to create safer areas, general safeguarding and how to make referrals or contact numbers for safeguarding services including children’s social care or local youth provision. Training community guardians may be an informal arrangement for example supporting the relationship between a school and takeaway so that the business owner knows who to contact if they have concerns or training to taxi drivers on the signs of child sexual exploitation.

Who is it for?

Safeguarding professionals

Find out more

Contact the Hackney Contextual Safeguarding team for more information contextualsafeguarding@hackney.gov.uk

Contextual Safeguarding Training

Summary

Training supports practitioners to apply the theory of Contextual Safeguarding within their own work

Description

Contextual Safeguarding training supports practitioners and organisations to understand the theory of Contextual Safeguarding and how this applies to practice. Contextual Safeguarding training should be tailored to individual agencies and their needs, supporting them to reflect on practice and develop their own contextual interventions. Contextual Safeguarding training could include:

  • Theory and background of Contextual Safeguarding
  • Extra-familial harm and peer on peer abuse
  • Child protection system challenges
  • Case study and practice example
  • Legislation and relevant policy
  • Tools and resources

Who is it for?

Everyone

Find out more

Contextual Safeguarding Network training resources
Contact the Contextual Safeguarding Network for training here

Licensing

Summary

Licensing and gambling regulations can provide levers for encouraging businesses to update their policies, particularly when they appear reluctant to do so

Description

The government’s reform of licensing and gambling legislation (Gambling Act 2005) placed a shared statutory responsibility on LSCBs and licensed businesses to safeguard children and young people and can be used by licensing teams as a lever for engaging unresponsive licensed premises or event managers. Other law enforcement agencies can work with licensing teams and act as their ‘eyes and ears’ to report any safeguarding concerns when performing routine inspections such as Food and Hygiene or Health and Safety checks. Licensing regulation can also be used to disrupt suspicious activity in unlicensed places.

Who is it for?

Businesses, licensed premises, local authorities, LSCBs

Find out more

See an example of an award-winning licensing project available on the Contextual Safeguarding Network.

Access here

Parent Support Groups

Summary

Parent support groups can bring together the parents of young people engaged in criminal activities, or at risk of becoming victims of various forms of exploitation, to support them to better understand and respond to the risks faced by their children

Description

Local authorities’ Early Help Units (or equivalents) can set up parent support groups. Peer groups, dynamics within the group, places where young people in the group congregate and work already undertaken with their families can be identified through peer group mapping meetings. Parents can then be informed of risks their children face and can be supported to safeguard their children. One local authority, for example, set up a parent support group in which an Early Help Unit and police staff shared their knowledge of the peer group’s activities (anti-social behaviour and missing episodes) supported by photographic evidence and helped parents recognise the early signs of exploitation and substance misuse. Support groups can enable parents to share their views and concerns within a non-judgemental setting. Parents in this support group set up a WhatsApp group to keep informed of their children’s whereabouts and told their children they were working together to keep them safe. The parents have also created a plan with the Early Help worker for on-going support and future meetings.

Who is it for?

Child protection practitioners

Find out more

A case study will soon be available on the Contextual Safeguarding network

Relationship and Sex Education

Summary

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) can be used to flag and discuss local issues or concerns in the school and in the neighbourhood

Description

Schools should ensure that their RSE curriculum is informed by issues and concerns relevant to their school and its neigbourhood. RSE sessions, for instance, could provide an opportunity to discuss unhealthy attitudes or norms that may take place within the school environment such as bullying or the use of inappropriate or sexist language. RSE curriculums should also be linked to Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) sessions and to other lessons where relevant (such as discussing online safety in ICT classes) and should be meaningfully embedded within the school ethos and policy as part of a whole-school approach. RSE education and the policies that underpin should be updated regularly in light of ongoing events and needs.

Who is it for?

Teachers, services within schools

Find out more

For examples, see Tender and AVA’s whole-school approach models to promoting healthy relationships and preventing gender based violence.

Tender Visit
AVA Visit

Unconscious Bias Training

Summary

Training about unconscious bias with a view to reducing the negative impact of bias on organisational practice and individual behaviour

Description

Unconscious (or implicit) biases are the views and opinions that we are unaware of and that affect our everyday behaviour and decision-making. Our unconscious biases can be influenced by our background, culture, context and personal experiences. Interventions or references used in schools may sometimes be grounded in unconscious bias. This can take various forms: a race disparity audit report conducted by the government in 2017, for instance, revealed that unconscious bias plays a role in high rates of exclusion among Black and Mixed Races students. Unconscious bias may also contribute to normalise harmful sexual behaviour in schools. Things that students do that are sometimes thought of as ‘less serious’ or as ‘boys being boys’ such as sexist name-calling or inappropriate touching of clothes (like the lifting of skirts or pulling of bra-straps) can contribute to a school culture where harassment or sexual assault can flourish.

Who is it for?

School staff and practitioners

Find out more

Search for ‘unconsicous bias training’ for local provision

Updating Business Policies

Summary

Businesses can update their policies to consider how to become safer environments for young people

Description

Businesses can be supported to review their policies to ensure that they are complying to their statutory safeguarding duty. Policies and processes businesses can put in place may include:

  • Nominating a Safeguarding Representative in their premise
  • Providing training to all staff with regular refresher sessions
  • Incorporate whistle-blowing policies
  • Using awareness raising campaign material within their premise ·Operating the Challenge 25 scheme at the point of delivery
  • Use of regular CCTV monitoring
  • Undertaking a Children and Young People’s risk assessment (in writing, the outcome should inform staff training, briefings and the premises operating policy)
  • If business provides accommodation, monitoring customer activity using foot patrols (e.g. floor walking in pubs/clubs; regular room and corridor checks; walking the building parametres)

Who is it for?

Businesses, Prevention and Early Intervention teams

Find out more

See the Operation MakeSafe and the Say Something if you See Something campaigns for training material, code of good safeguarding conduct and user guides for businesses.

Operation MakeSafe Visit
Say Something if you See Something Visit

Changing the Physical Environment

Summary

Making small changes to physical environments such as supervision, access and use of space can prevent the occurrence of harm happening and create safe spaces

Description

Changing the physical environment can reduce opportunities for harm to happen, change the use of space to make places safer and ensure communities feel safer. Changes to the physical landscape should always be done following an assessment of the location and in consultation with those that use the area to ensure that it meets their needs. Changes to the physical landscape can include a range of approaches such as:

  • Increasing lighting
  • CCTV
  • Repairs to increase the attractiveness of the area
  • Securing doors and entrances
  • Signage and posters
  • Bollards
  • Cutting back bushes

Who is it for?

Place managers - those responsible for the area

Find out more

Guidance on carrying out a neighbourhood assessment can be found on the Contextual Safeguarding Network. You can also conduct research on 'Situational Crime Prevention'.

Access guidance here

Bystander Interventions

Summary

Peer education models to prevent violence and address bullying in schools

Description

Bystander Interventions such as the Mentors for Violence Prevention (MVP) programme are approaches to gendered violence and bullying prevention that was first developed in the USA to tackle bullying and all forms of abusive and violent behaviours in schools. Schools and community staff are trained to support senior students to become mentors. The mentors deliver sessions to other students in the school and encourage them to look out for each other and positively influence the attitudes and behaviours of their peers. Participants discuss issues with young people such as unhealthy group norms or gender-violence and practice how they would safely respond to incidents of harassment, abuse or violence before, during or after the incident occurs.

Who is it for?

School staff and young people

Find out more

Cultivating Minds UK offers training in MVP approaches. The MVP was piloted across schools in Scotland.

Find out more here.

Changing School Environments

Summary

Making small changes to physical environments such as supervision, access and use of space can prevent the occurrence of harm happening and create safe spaces within schools

Description

Changing the physical environment can reduce opportunities for harm to happen, change the use of space to make places safer and ensure students feel safer. Before making changes it is important to consider which places would benefit from changes. This may be prompted by an incident or could be the result of mapping work carried out with students. Changes to the physical layout of schools could consider:

  • Increasing staff supervision
  • Changing the use of space
  • Increasing lighting
  • Removing curtains/ increasing natural light
  • Implementing temporary exclusion zones
  • Poster campaigns to raise awareness
  • Locking areas

It is advisable to seek advice and feedback from students before implementing changes.

Who is it for?

Education and safeguarding professionals

Find out more

Shifting Boundaries: Lessons on Relationships for Students in Middle School by Nan D. Stein, Kelly Mennemeier, Natalie Russ, and Bruce Taylor.

Access here

Community Mapping

Summary

Community mapping is an extension of the Safety Mapping tool, which involves taking maps to groups of young people/whole community events to think about safety and offer guidance on services/signposting

Description

Community mapping involves taking maps of a local area to groups of young people or to community events to ask people about their experiences of the local area. Maps can be printed on large paper and using pins or colouring pens, young people and members of the community can label the map with places they feel safe or unsafe. This can then be used to start conversations about what changes might need to be made. Before doing the exercise it is important to find out what services or agencies work in the area so that that during the exercise young people can be signposted to relevant services or opportunities – for example, a local youth club or sports provision. In order for community mapping to be effective it is important that the information is then developed into an action plan to prioritises the local communities experiences and needs.

Who is it for?

All safeguarding professionals

Find out more

The Safety Mapping tool is available on the Contextual Safeguarding Network.

Access here

Detached Youth Work

Summary

Detached youth workers can engage with young people in community spaces allowing for informal education and creating safer places

Description

Detached youth workers provide youth work provision in local community places such as on the street, in parks and around the neighbourhood. Within a detached model of youth work the activities are defined by young people rather than pre-determined as may be in the case of outreach youth work, for example targeting specific issues such as underage drinking. Detached youth workers can provide informal education by bringing youth work to young people, listening and hearing their needs and creating youth work that tailors to this. By being situated in the places young people spend time, detached workers can build an understanding of the issues that young people experience and the relationships they form and intervene in harmful contexts. Detached youth workers can create safer environments in the places they attend and provide important information to other agencies when developing contextual interventions. By building trusted relationships with young people they can provide advice and support and identify harm at earlier stages.

Who is it for?

Commissioners

Find out more

Practitioner briefing: ‘The role of detached youth work in creating safety for young people in public spaces’ is available on the Contextual Safeguarding Network.

Access here

Family COACH Programme

Summary

Family COACH aims to address evidence-based systemic risk factors to prevent vulnerability to extra-familial risk and build protective factors

Description

The family COACH programme incorporates a number of interventions designed to improve the child-parent(s)/carer(s) relationship, child’s behaviour at home, child’s behaviour and academic performance at school, family functioning, family’s relationship with the school, social support for family, family’s socio-economic conditions and resources in the community, access to these resources and families participation in the community. Children are offered an evidence-informed group intervention designed to enhance self-regulation, social problem-solving skills and social interaction. They are also supported through the group sessions to develop understanding and skills around topics including discrimination, belonging, identity and mindfulness. They are concurrently supported to access resources in the community and develop interests. Parents/carers are offered an evidence-informed group intervention designed to enhance their parenting capacity and to introduce them to local community resources and services.

Who is it for?

Professionals working with families

Find out more

More information can be found this presentation.

Multi-Family Group Therapy

Summary

Multi-Family Group Therapy is a clinical intervention that brings together families who are facing similar difficulties or who share experiences

Description

Families are invited to come together as a group to think about their common experiences, most often based upon a strengths focused model and drawing on narrative approaches in a therapeutic context. Usually work is completed both with the whole family and with the parents and children separately but concurrently. It has been successfully implemented in a context within which young people are facing extra-familial risk, which is, in part, associated with a level of family dysfunction. This intervention has a developing evidence base for supporting families, can support engagement of families, is most often used alongside other supportive interventions and should be delivered by therapeutically trained staff. Multi-Family Group Therapy will involve consideration of possible practical constraints and barriers such as access, time of day and out of group engagement of families.

Who is it for?

Professionals working with families

Find out more

Multi-family group therapy website

Safety Mapping

Summary

Safety mapping helps practitioners to understand young people’s experiences of places they feel are safe and unsafe and supports practitioners to create a safety plan with young people

Description

Working with a young person, practitioners can print, or use an online version, of a map of the young person’s local area. Using the map the practitioner can guide discussion about areas that the young person feels safe and unsafe, colouring in the map in red, amber and green. This can then form the basis of a discussion with the young person about how to stay safe when in red areas, and to consider which trusted adults or safe places they can go to if they feel unsafe. The discussion will form the basis of a safety plan. In addition, when multiple practitioners use the safety mapping tool with young people, they can gain a better picture of areas young people feel unsafe which should then form the basis of an intervention into that place to make it safer. This exercise helps to get a better understanding from young people’s own experiences of different places.

Who is it for?

Practitioners working with young people

Find out more

The Safety Mapping tool is available on the Contextual Safeguarding Network.

Access here

School mapping (Shifting Boundaries)

Summary

Shifting Boundaries aims to reduce sexual violence and harassment between young people using a curriculum programme and school-based intervention

Description

Shifting Boundaries was developed in the United States to reduce dating violence and sexual harassment. The programme has two parts: a school curriculum element and school-based intervention. The school based curriculum covers six sessions including: gender roles, boundaries within relationships, healthy relationships, bystander interventions, consequences of harm and the law. The programme uses a range of activities including a hotspot mapping exercise where students use maps of the school to mark areas they feel safe and unsafe. The second component includes school-level interventions such as revising school protocols, temporary exclusion zones, poster campaigns and responding to areas students identified as unsafe such as increasing supervision. The curriculum and activists are all available for free online.

Who is it for?

School staff or practitioners working in schools

Find out more

Shifting Boundaries: Lessons on Relationships for Students in Middle School by Nan D. Stein, Kelly Mennemeier, Natalie Russ, and Bruce Taylor.

Access here

Updating School Policies

Summary

Updating policies and procedures can support staff, young people and parents to understand the local response to different forms of harm

Description

It is important that schools and multi-agency partnerships frequently update their policies and procedures to ensure there is a consistent and contextual response to harm. Updating policies should consider the following:

  • That there is read-across between policies such as the behaviour, ICT and exclusion to safeguarding policies.
  • School policies are in-line with and complementary to multi-agency policies.
  • Policies include the procedure for responding to different forms of harm, for example harmful sexual behaviour and online abuse, and not just definitions.
  • Clear guidance on recording and referring harm internally and to social care/the police
  • The school’s role in responding to local concerns including online.
  • Promote a child welfare, rather than only punitive, response to harm – protecting victims and those that instigate harm.
  • Consider the physical landscape of the school.

Who is it for?

Education and safeguarding professionals

Find out more

For a template policy and guidance access Farrer & Co’s peer-on-peer abuse toolkit.

Access here

Pop-up Youth Clubs

Summary

Pop-up youth clubs can be set up as a short-term, targeted intervention with young people (including peer groups) in response to safeguarding concerns identified in a specific location

Description

Pop-up youth clubs are flexible interventions adaptable to a range of contexts and designed to address a specific issue. One local authority, for example, set one up in a public library in response to concerns raised by library staff about a peer group that regularly met there to use the library’s facilities. The library staff expressed concern about the peer groups’ anti-social behaviour, and it was flagged that some young people in the group were particularly vulnerable to CSE. A pop-up youth club was installed in the library as a joint intervention between detached youth work, CSE and participation teams to provide a series of workshops on topics related to healthy relationships selected by young people. Library staff were also trained in adolescent development and took part in group sessions with young people. Pop-up youth clubs are temporary and can be used to signpost young people to services if further support it needed. They often require the necessary preparation of a standard youth club.

Who is it for?

Safeguarding professionals, people in charge of the area

Find out more

See an example in section 2c on the briefing ‘Responding to Safeguarding Concerns in Local Businesses and Neighbourhoods’ on the Contextual Safeguarding Network.

Access here

Achieving Change Together (ACT)

Summary

A strength and relationship-based model to find alternatives to high cost and secure accommodation for young people experiencing, or at risk of, exploitation

Description

Achieving Change Together (ACT) is a project developed in Rochdale and Wigan and co-designed with young people. The project aims to find alternatives to high cost and secure accommodation for victims of, or those at increased risk of, child sexual exploitation. It relies on a strengths, relationship, evidence-based and ‘future-focused’ model for working with young people at risk of exploitation. The model is built around an ACT worker who adopts the ACT principles and takes the time to build a meaningful and trusting relationship with the young person, providing them with intensive, early support. This worker takes the young person through the ACT pathway in order to help them identify their goals and together build a plan. The project has proved successful in reducing escalations and placements.

Who is it for?

Social workers and young people

Find out more

Read more about the project here.

Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is used in many different ways, places and by different people across the world to resolve a situation and/or re-build relationships after an event or conflict

Individual Peers School Neighbourhood

Business Engagement

Awareness raising and training of businesses to help them identify and respond to safeguarding concerns in their premises

Neighbourhood

Community Guardians

Identifying and training people within the community to become guardians can ensure that adults in the community can provide a safeguarding role, create safer environments and refer concerns

Neighbourhood

Contextual Safeguarding Training
Contextual Safeguarding Training
Contextual Safeguarding Training
Contextual Safeguarding Training

Training supports practitioners to apply the theory of Contextual Safeguarding within their own work

Family School Neighbourhood Other

Licensing

Licensing and gambling regulations can provide levers for encouraging businesses to update their policies, particularly when they appear reluctant to do so

Neighbourhood

Parent Support Groups

Parent support groups can bring together the parents of young people engaged in criminal activities, or at risk of becoming victims of various forms of exploitation, to support them to better understand and respond to the risks faced by their children

Family

Relationship and Sex Education

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) can be used to flag and discuss local issues or concerns in the school and in the neighbourhood

School

Unconscious Bias Training
Unconscious Bias Training

Training about unconscious bias with a view to reducing the negative impact of bias on organisational practice and individual behaviour

School Other

Updating Business Policies

Businesses can update their policies to consider how to become safer environments for young people

Neighbourhood

Changing the Physical Environment

Making small changes to physical environments such as supervision, access and use of space can prevent the occurrence of harm happening and create safe spaces

Neighbourhood

Changing School Environments

Making small changes to physical environments such as supervision, access and use of space can prevent the occurrence of harm happening and create safe spaces within schools

School

Community Mapping

Community mapping is an extension of the Safety Mapping tool, which involves taking maps to groups of young people/whole community events to think about safety and offer guidance on services/signposting

Neighbourhood

Detached Youth Work

Detached youth workers can engage with young people in community spaces allowing for informal education and creating safer places

Neighbourhood

Family COACH Programme

Family COACH aims to address evidence-based systemic risk factors to prevent vulnerability to extra-familial risk and build protective factors

Family

Multi-Family Group Therapy

Multi-Family Group Therapy is a clinical intervention that brings together families who are facing similar difficulties or who share experiences

Family

Safety Mapping

Safety mapping helps practitioners to understand young people’s experiences of places they feel are safe and unsafe and supports practitioners to create a safety plan with young people

Neighbourhood

School mapping (Shifting Boundaries)

Shifting Boundaries aims to reduce sexual violence and harassment between young people using a curriculum programme and school-based intervention

School

Updating School Policies

Updating policies and procedures can support staff, young people and parents to understand the local response to different forms of harm

School

Pop-up Youth Clubs

Pop-up youth clubs can be set up as a short-term, targeted intervention with young people (including peer groups) in response to safeguarding concerns identified in a specific location

Peers

Achieving Change Together (ACT)

A strength and relationship-based model to find alternatives to high cost and secure accommodation for young people experiencing, or at risk of, exploitation

Individual

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