Contextual risk, individualised responses: an assessment of safeguarding responses to nine cases of peer-on-peer abuse
AuthorsFirmin, Carlene Emma
child sexual exploitation
intimate partner violence (IPV)
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AbstractPractitioners, academics and policymakers are increasingly questioning the sufficiency of safeguarding practice in protecting young people from peer-on-peer abuse in England. Using the findings from an in-depth analysis of nine cases where young people either raped or murdered their peers, this article explores approaches to assessing and intervening with those affected by peer-on-peer abuse. Building upon international calls for a contextual account of abuse between young people, the article identifies a professional struggle to address the interplay between young people’s homes and the public and social spaces in which peer-on-peer abuse often manifests. Findings from this study are used to illuminate wider research into peer-on-peer abuse which has indicated a professional inability to: assess young people’s behaviours with reference to the contexts in which they occur; change the environmental factors that influence abusive behaviours; and recognise the vulnerability of those who abuse their peers. The article concludes that to effectively respond to peer-on-peer abuse, multi-agency partnerships are required which can identify, assess and intervene with the norms in peer groups, schools and public spaces that can facilitate peer-on-peer abuse and undermine parental capacity to keep young people safe - thereby adopting a more contextual approach to safeguarding adolescents.
CitationFirmin C. (2017) 'Contextual risk, individualised responses: an assessment of safeguarding responses to nine cases of peer-on-peer abuse', Child Abuse Review.
JournalChild Abuse Review
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