A sigh of relief: a summary of the phase one results from the Securing Safety study
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractWhen practitioners are faced with young people who are being sexually exploited, coerced to traffic drugs around the country, or who have experienced serious violence in their communities, they sometimes move them a significant distance from their homes and communities. How often, for what purpose, and to what effect are such relocations used? While there may always be situations where it is necessary to move a young person, and sometimes their entire family, in order to keep them safe, anecdotal unease about the practice of relocations means there is far more we need to understand to ensure that such a disruptive, and costly, intervention is used to best effect. This research briefing presents the findings from the first phase of the Securing Safety study, which seeks to understand the rate, cost and impact of relocations of young people in response to extra-familial harm. It builds on studies into the use of fostering, residential care and secure settings during interventions for young people affected by sexual exploitation (Beckett, 2011; Ellis, 2018; Firmin, 2018; Shuker, 2013; Sturrock and Holmes, 2015) to focus specifically on how such interventions are used for broader forms of extra-familial harm and what their effective and ethical use might entail in the future. Engaging 15 local authorities in England and Wales, we begin to build a national picture of how often, why and in what circumstances this form of intervention is used to protect children and young people. The data collected in year one builds a rich picture of the complex and contested use of relocation. It highlights that moves are sometimes used as the only means of keeping a young person physically safe, that they can both disrupt and repair relationships, and that while they can be used to enable young people to access therapeutic support, consideration of the emotional impact of a relocation may be de-prioritised against other risks. Relocation can create a moment of relative safety for a young person, with one practitioner sharing that ’everyone breathes a sigh of relief’ when a move is complete. Considering the findings from the first year of our study we propose an interim set of recommendations and ask, if relocations offer a sigh of relief, who for?
CitationFirmin C, Wroe L, Skidmore P (2020) 'A sigh of relief: a summary of the phase one results from the Securing Safety study'. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
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