What is Contextual Safeguarding?
Contextual Safeguarding is a way of understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm outside of their family. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form with peers and adults, in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers often have little influence over these relationships and contexts, and young people’s experiences of harm outside the home can undermine parent-child relationships.
Children’s social care practitioners, child protection systems and wider safeguarding partnerships need to engage with professionals in sectors and community members, who do have influence within schools, neighbourhoods and other contexts. Assessment of, and intervention with, these spaces is a critical part of safeguarding practices. Contextual Safeguarding expands the objectives of child protection systems in recognition that young people are vulnerable to abuse beyond their front doors.
When we work collaboratively with this in mind and pay attention to our language – the young person, the important people in their family and community become crucial in developing safety plans that consider peers, places and spaces – their friends, the places they hang out and the people they trust.
Consider risk of sexual & criminal exploitation, radicalisation, missing from home and care and grooming both online and in the real world. Relationships and patience are key to ensuring good information sharing and communication – working with young people and reframing our lens and looking to disrupt perpetrators working with multi-agency partners.
The Contextual Safeguarding Research Programme
The Contextual Safeguarding Research Programme, includes resources such as it’s history, vision and mission, team, current suite of projects, and key publications.
To access the policy and practice resources created through this programme, and hear from practitioners and decision-makers who are using a Contextual Safeguarding approach in response to abuse in extra-familial settings please visit the virtual hub of the Contextual Safeguarding Practitioners’ Network on www.csnetwork.org.uk
You can find further research regardng Contextual Safeguarding in the Resource Library.