For Contextual Safeguarding to be evident in a local area extra-familial relationships and contexts need to be evident in referrals. This must be visible in two ways.
Firstly, when agencies or individuals are referring concerns about children and/or families, is information about peer groups, school, neighbourhood and online contexts also being recorded? This ensures that at the point of screening professionals can begin to consider whether factors within or external to families are driving the risk that is the subject of the concern. It also provides an evidence base through which safeguarding hubs can identify contextual trends across multiple referrals. For example, have multiple young people (each referred separately and at separate times) all been assaulted on the same bus route, are they all part of the same peer group or do they all attend the same educational provision?
Secondly, is it possible for agencies or individuals to refer concerns about peer groups, schools, neighbourhoods or online locations, as well as individual children and families? This ensures that when professionals have concerns about the welfare of young people in extra-familial contexts those contexts themselves can be at the forefront of the screening, and potentially assessment process.
For safeguarding partnerships to be satisfied that Contextual Safeguarding has been embedded in their safeguarding hub or other ‘front-door’ referral service, a number of things need to be considered. Key considerations are outlined in a document that can be accessed by clicking on the blue tab below.