Developing contextual responses to the abuse and exploitation of young people

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Practitioner Briefings

Evidencing peer-on-peer abuse in educational settings

This briefing outlines the findings of the Contextual Safeguarding Network's learning project on evidencing peer-on-peer abuse in educational settings. The purpose of the project was to understand how professionals capture, share and use information about peer-on-peer abuse that occurs within school and alternative education environments. 

What is peer-on-peer abuse?

Carlene Firmin and George Curtis

This briefing outlines what current research tells us about the nature of peer-on-peer abuse, and considers what this might mean for building a response 

Auditing your local response to peer-on-peer abuse

Carlene Firmin

This briefing explains will support local authorities to audit their responses to peer-on-peer abuse. 

Peer-on-peer abuse and exploitation: The role of youth offending services in building a local response

Carlene Firmin and George Curtis

This briefing paper highlights the role of youth offending services in building responses to peer-on-peer abuse. 

Developing multi-agency sexual exploitation (MASE) meetings to respond to peer-on-peer CSE

George Curtis

This briefing paper considers how evidence of peer-on-peer child sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse can inform the development of multi-agency sexual exploitation (MASE) meetings.

Profiling peer-on-peer abuse

Carlene Firmin with David Hancock, Sandeep Broca, Manish Umaria, Gareth Sloane, Sepia Golding, Solenne Levesque, Farah Dadabhoy and Matthew Abbott

This briefing shares the learning from a seminar series with a group of CSE and gangs analysts on profiling peer-on-peer abuse. 

The role of detached youth work in creating safety for young people in public spaces

Danielle Fritz with Carlene Firmin and Paul Olaitan

This briefing paper discusses the benefits and limitations of detached youth work provision in creating safety for young people in public spaces.

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.

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.

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.

Responses to young people who abuse their peers

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 explain their work in two sites to enhance local responses to harmful sexual behaviour. If you would like a copy of the slides or editable copies of the resources within this extract, then Contact Us.

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.

Reports, Articles and other Publications

Contextualizing case reviews: A methodology for developing systemic safeguarding practices

Carlene Firmin

This paper introduces a systemic methodology for reviewing professional responses to abuse between young people. The approach, “contextual case reviewing,” draws upon constructivist structuralism to assess the extent to which safeguarding practices engage with the social and public contexts of abuse.

Young people who sexually harm peers in groups: A rapid evidence assessment of international literature

Lia Latchford with Carlene Firmin, Danielle Fritz and Simon Hackett

This literature review was conducted to develop an evidence base on young people who sexually harm in groups, by synthesising existing literature on group harmful sexual behaviour (HSB), wider group offending and group interventions

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.

Towards a Contextual Response to Peer-on-Peer Abuse: Research and Resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016

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

This report chronicles the findings and resources on peer-on-peer abuse generated by the MsUnderstood Partnership over the past three years, with specific reference to the tools and knowledge created alongside professionals through local site work. The programme of work was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Samworth Foundation and Trust for London.

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.

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