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Welcome to the Towards Safety toolkit from the Beyond Referrals project. Here you will find a self-assessment resource to support you to build safety within your organisation for young people affected by extra-familial harm.

What is the Towards Safety resource?

The Towards Safety self-assessment tool is a resource to support youth-facing Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations who are interested in building safety within and around their organisation as a route to safeguarding young people from extra-familial harm.

The resource should be used to identify things that you are already doing to create safe contexts for young people, as well as any barriers that you may need to address. The harms young people may face outside their homes are constantly evolving, and no organisation will get everything right all the time.

The resource is available in two forms:

  • a one page resource – the Towards Safety Wheel- which can be printed off and referred to in an accessible way and
  • a longer resource- the Towards Safety self-assessment- with extra guidance to support you to use the Towards Safety Wheel. The longer resource is interactive so you can click on the sections and it will take you to the relevant guidance.

More about the research supporting the tool

From 2017 – 2021 The Contextual Safeguarding team has run the Beyond Referrals project. The project looked at the levers and barriers for creating safety in universal settings – initially with a focus on responding to peer-to-peer abuse in schools. Through this work we produced a series of self-audit tools for schools to develop their safeguarding response to peer-to-peer abuse and other forms of extra-familial harm that may occur within or around school settings (see the Beyond Referrals toolkit). From 2021 onwards the project has focused on similar questions in Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations.

Through an exploratory study with three VCS organisations (one sports-facing, one generic open access youth club, and one faith-based youth provision) which explored how these organisations created safety, and responded to EFH, in and around their provision.

For the study, research data was gathered in all three VCS settings through observations, interviews and focus groups, as well as through a review of policies and procedures associated with safeguarding and specifically extra-familial forms of harm, related to the organisation. These research activities were used to understand the barriers and levers for understanding and addressing extra-familial harm in these settings.

Following the data collection, three sector-specific focus groups and a research advisory group helped sense-check the transferability of findings so that they could be converted into a self- assessment resource for the sector- the Towards Safety toolkit.