• Holistic approaches to safeguarding adolescents

      Peace, Delphine; Atkinson, Ruth; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bdfordshire, 2019-02-28)
      This briefing shares findings from the Contextual Safeguarding Network’s third learning project exploring how local areas are developing holistic approaches to safeguarding adolescents from extra-familial risk. Holistic approaches are understood as coordinated strategic approaches that move beyond siloed responses to specific risks, such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), youth violence, criminal exploitation or teenage relationship abuse and develop overarching responses by joining meeting structures, assessments and interventions. The Contextual Safeguarding toolkit, which will be published on the Contextual Safeguarding Network in March 2019, will provide more exemplars of holistic approaches to safeguarding adolescents, including multi-agency extra-familial risk meeting protocols and templates. I
    • Peer group mapping: practitioners briefing: Learning Project 2 summary of findings

      Atkinson, Ruth; Fritz, Danielle; Firmin, Carlene Emma; Contextual Safeguarding Network; University of Bedfordshire (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2017-07-31)
      The purpose of Learning Project 2 was to understand how practitioners develop and use peer-group maps and/or generate knowledge on a young person’s peer associations in order to assess their vulnerability and/or as a means of developing a plan to keep them safe. In this briefing we highlight benefits of peer group mapping ,pulling out examples of good practice and enablers for effective implementation, as well as outlining ethical considerations and practical barriers that practitioners are facing. The Learning Project was informed by practitioners operating in a range of sectors as well as insights and experience gathered from Ms Understood audits in 14 sites.
    • ‘Snitches get stitches’: school-specific barriers to victim disclosure and peer reporting of sexual harm committed by young people in school contexts

      Allnock, Debra; Atkinson, Ruth; University of Bedfordshire; AVA - Against Violence & Abuse (Elsevier, 2019-01-03)
      Background: School based, peer-to-peer sexual harm is under-researched despite its prevalence and adverse effects on young people across the globe. Understanding barriers to victim disclosure and peer reporting might help towards the prevention and protection of young people. Objective: This study explores dual perspectives of young people and educational staff about school-specific environmental barriers to 1) young people’s disclosure of sexual harm experienced, and 2) young people’s reporting of sexual harm on behalf of others. Participants and setting: Participants include 59 young people aged 13–21 and 58 educational staff, drawn from seven schools across four local authorities in England whom formed part of a wider study on harmful sexual behavior and safety in schools. Methods: Focus groups were carried out with young people and education staff. The sessions were thematically analysed and focused on barriers to disclosure within the school context. Results: Peer groups set powerful ‘rules’ that influence the ability and willingness of young people to report sexual harm. Some school responses for addressing sexual harm are sub-optimal and sexual harm is not adequately prioritised. Some schools appear to struggle to manage more subtle forms of sexual harm compared with more recognized forms of violence and abuse. A significant proportion of sexual harm is so prevalent that it is ‘normalised’, and therefore underreported.  This resigned acceptance to sexual harm consequently shapes young people’s disclosures. Conclusions: School systems of responding to sexual harm require strengthening to increase feelings of safety and empowerment of young people.