Developing contextual responses to the abuse and exploitation of young people



Last updated: 24 Mar 2019

By adopting a contextual approach to a range of services are required to broaden their focus to consider, and address, social and public contexts that impact the welfare of children and their families – including schools, policing, health services and children’s social care. In order to encourage agencies and partnerships to work in this way it is critical that those who inspect these services are equipped to identify and promote contextually informed practices. At this stage many of these practices involve professionals working beyond the remit that is outlined for them in statutory guidance and requires innovative thinking and confidence to address the factors which may be causing harm even when these exist beyond a family.

The resources on the network provide inspectors with a unique insight into how a range of agencies have developed contextual approaches to safeguarding. Blogs, learning briefings, podcasts and videos are available which share a range of approaches from developing multi-agency support families to address issues impacting families and peer group mapping techniques, through to engaging private industries and schools in responding to peer-abuse and exploitation. By engaging with these examples inspectors can build a working knowledge of what Contextual Safeguarding looks like in practice and offer advice, challenge and encouragement when they witness such innovation during inspection.

Additional resources are also available which provide more direct advice to inspectors. These can be found below.

The Contextual Safeguarding Audit Toolkit supports practitioners to audit partnership responses to peer-on-peer abuse.


Safeguarding children and young people from sexual exploitation, gang-association and associated vulnerabilities: A briefing for Inspectorates

Dr Carlene Firmin

This briefing for inspectorates focuses on inspecting responses to child sexual exploitation (CSE), gang-association and other forms of child sexual abuse (CSA). in order to inform the Joint Targeted Area Inspection process. The briefing also considers associated vulnerabilities - such as being missing from home or education.


Webinar series for inspectors: Addressing HSB in education

The Contextual Safeguarding network will soon be launching a webinar series for inspectors on Contextual Safeguarding and the implications for addressing harmful sexual behaviours in education. 

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