What is the Contextual Safeguarding Hub?
The Contextual Safeguarding Hub are a small team within Children’s Services who are dedicated to reducing the risks for young people of extra-familial harm. The hub aims to improve practice and strives for excellence.
Extra-familial harm - harm the young person suffers outside the home.
Contextual safeguarding approach - the term 'Contextual Safeguarding' is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse.
Parents and carers have little influence over peer groups, schools and neighbourhoods and therefore it's vital that we target the right interventions, at the right contexts, and at the right levels.
Enfield Children’s Services are committed to adapting the traditional safeguarding approaches from a focus predominantly on the child and the family towards recognising and addressing potential risks from all environments.
Why was the hub created?
Traditional social work models tend to focus on the young person and the home and neglect the wider social spheres. The hub aims to challenge the thinking that harm only occurs inside the home.
What do we do?
We offer case consultations to the entire service encompassing Universal Services all they through to the Leaving Care teams. We have created a series of tools and resources with the idea of upskilling and improving the practitioner’s ability to recognise risk, improving young peoples and parents and carers ability to navigate risky situations to ultimately improve their levels of self-protection.
We provide a comprehensive internal training programme around the contextual safeguarding approach that Enfield has adopted. We also reflect on the statistics of extra-familial harm in Enfield to examine and combat trends.
Enfield has two dedicated Missing Children’s debriefing officers who are responsible for conducting Return Home Interviews for when we have concerns about extra-familial harm. The link between young people being reported missing and them being exploited well documented. We adopt a relationship-based approach to understanding the child’s lived experience to improve awareness of harm and to improve decision making.
Extra-familial harm is dynamic and clandestine making it difficult to map. Quite often intelligence can exist in silo’s. The Contextual Safeguarding Hub has strategic oversight of extra-familial harm across Enfield and aims to use intelligence to inform risk assessments and target resources accordingly.
Key indicators of extra-familial harm
- Secretive behaviours
- Carrying knives/weapons
- Glorification of gang culture
- Consuming alcohol and drugs
- Isolated from safe relationships
- Frequently going missing
- Unexplained wealth/luxury goods
- Large age gap in a relationship/friendships
- Being picked up by unauthorised adults
- STI’s and unplanned pregnancy
- Exploring sexuality in an unsupported way
- Returning from missing looking well looked after
- Inappropriate clothing/online relationships
- Multiple phones
- Death/illness of significant person
- Low self esteem
- Low Intelligence
- Feeling Unloved
- Feels rejected
- Victim of childhood abuse
- Desensitisation to abuse - easier to groom
- Not living with parents
- Victim of historical sexual abuse
- Mental health issues
- Sudden change in behaviour
- Out of education and employment
- High self esteem
- Appropriate relationships
- Has passion project(s)
- Knows and understands sexual consent
- Intelligent/street wise
- Can spot the warning signs of grooming
- Limited drugs and alcohol intake
- Secure family and friends networks
- Feels loved and valued
- Open and honest with friends, family and professionals
- Known whereabouts
How to refer
Please refer via Children's Portal.
‘Save me’ film project
Enfield Children’s Services have partnered up with director Amani Simpson to create a unique video about Extra-Familial Harm in Enfield. Premiere and accompanying resources to be announced shortly.