The 'virtuous' cycle of parental empowerment: partnering with parents to safeguard young people from exploitation
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AbstractWhen young people are sexually exploited, parents and professionals alike can feel uncertain about how to balance the need to protect the child's rights to agency and autonomy while also reducing the risk of harm. Despite the shared interest in keeping young people safe, there remains a substantial gap in the research literature about how practitioners engage parents to increase capacity to safeguard their children, particularly within the context of a child protection system ill-equipped to address forms of extrafamilial harm such as child sexual exploitation. This paper aims to contribute to understanding how professionals effectively engage parents by drawing upon evidence from research evaluations of two programmes in rural/urban North and urban South locations in England, both providing specialist support to parents/carers of sexually exploited children and young people. Through interrogating elements of effective support work evidenced across both programmes, a set of emerging key themes are presented, proposing that parent support and engagement can create a ‘virtuous’ cycle, whereby families are strengthened and are better able to protect their children from sexual exploitation and other forms of extrafamilial harm.
CitationHickle K, Shuker L (2022) 'The 'virtuous' cycle of parental empowerment: partnering with parents to safeguard young people from exploitation', Child and Family Social Work, (), pp.-.
JournalChild and Family Social Work
SponsorsSafer London; Parents Against ChildExploitation
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- Creative Commons
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