How do services respond when young people experience harm beyond their family settings? What kinds of interventions help to create safety? What does it mean to change the contexts where young people experience harm? If you're looking for some ideas and inspiration, you’re in the right place!
Our Responses and Interventions Catalogue contains over 30 entries. Each one is an example of a safeguarding practice response that has been tested by partners involved in developing Contextual Safeguarding work.
How is the catalogue organised?
The responses are tagged according to what they are trying to do. So, if you know what you want to do, choose the tag that is the closest match and read those entries. To give you an idea, if you need a response that focusses on your professional workforce, have a read of the entries under the tag ‘Changing Services’. Or if you need to build safety between peers, take a look at the 'Safety Between Young People' entries.
Each response gives you a short description plus an anonymised and semi-fictionalised case study, to give you a better idea of how the response has been used in practice. Do remember that these are examples of emerging practice, shared here to inspire your work and not blueprints to copy. Each time you use an example from the catalogue you’ll need to consider what needs to be adapted for the particular context you're working with.
How do the responses work?
All of the responses use one of the following approaches:
Direct work with young people
It’s important to say that in Contextual Safeguarding, direct work with young people is not about trying to change the behaviour of young people. This is because we reject the idea that it's ‘poor choices’ and ‘problematic thinking and behaviour’ that cause young people to experience harm. In Contextual Safeguarding, when we work directly with young people, we focus on:
- Listening to young people’s experiences and views on safety and harm, so that these can be central to the responses we take;
- Building, facilitating and restoring relationships built on trust and support – between peers and between young people and adults; and
- Providing young people with enjoyable and fulfilling activities in the contexts where they want to spend time.
Enhancing the role of adults
Contextual Safeguarding responses also involve enhancing the role of adults. This means facilitating ways for those adults who have responsibility and influence over a particular context to improve the safety of young people who spend time there. Many of the responses in the catalogue place the onus on the actions of adults, including professionals, parent/carers, businesses and other people like community residents. In these responses, we focus on:
- Working in a strengths-based way and resist ‘blaming’ in favour of building safety through positive relationships; and
- Make sure young people’s views, rights and experiences are central at every stage of the response design.