When a young person is at risk of extra-familial harm, they might be moved out of their home area for their safety. Researchers at the University of Bedfordshire have spoken to young people and parents with experience of this type of intervention. Based on what they have told us we have produced this info-sheet highlighting some things you might want to think through or ask a professional about when a move is on the table.
Are you a parent or a carer? Do you worry about the risks your child(ren) face(s) outside of the home? If so, you can take action and write to your MP or to your child(ren)’s school to find out what they are doing to keep your child(ren) safe.
Ask your MP what is in place to keep your child(ren) safe in your local community
In the UK, teenagers spend less time at home, and more time with their friends in places like parks, high streets, shopping centres or cinemas. Young people can come to harm when they are in public places - things like robbery on public transport, sexual violence in parks, or gang related violence on the streets. Sometimes young people make friends who abuse and exploit them, and they are also harmed by adults who are outside of their family settings. Safety in public spaces, and the friends that young people make in these settings, are often beyond the control of parents or carers.
If you are concerned about your child(ren)’s safety outside of the home, you can write to your local MP to share your concern and ask them about what things are in place to keep young people safe from harm in your local authority. Simply download the letter template for MPs at the bottom of this page, fill in the gaps in brackets and send it to your MP.
You can find the name of your MP on this link: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Ask your child(ren)'s head teacher what their school is doing to respond to sexual harassment and peer-on-peer abuse in schools
We know there are worryingly high levels of sexual harassment and peer-on-peer abuse taking place in some schools. Peer-on-peer abuse occurs when a young person is exploited, bullied and/or harmed by their peers who are the same or similar age. Often, students can display harmful behaviour towards each other or do things that are considered as ‘less serious’ such as sexist name-calling or inappropriate touching of clothes (like the lifting of skirts or pulling of bra-straps). It is important to tackle these things because they can contribute to a school culture where ‘more serious’ things (like sexual assault) can happen.
You can write to your child(ren)’s head teacher to ask them if they have a policy about responding to peer-on-peer abuse if it happens, and what kinds of things they are doing through the curriculum and in other ways to create a safe school. Simply download the letter template for schools at the bottom of this page, fill in the gaps in brackets and send it to the head teacher.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com