all places and spaces should be safe for young people

Joining the Dots

This is not a definitive body of evidence; rather it is a representative sample of the evidence we have in an emerging field. As the programme grows so too will the body of resources we have to share. This site is not a static resource, but one that we will constantly amend and adapt to reflect our collective insights and understanding as users of the site identify, share and contribute new sources of evidence.

These resources are shared here to help prompt new and innovative thinking and constructively challenge the status quo. They are cross-cutting strategic resources that ask and support us all to make new links and approach strategic decisions from new angles and perspectives.

They are also an important way of acknowledging that none of us in isolation hold all the information and expertise needed. We hope these resources offer a contrasting perspective or approach that invites a richer conversation about the ability we have to define and achieve common outcomes, and the resources we have available to do this.

These three categories of resources have been derived from sector responses to the initial scoping exercise we undertook when setting up the programme, learning from our pilot delivery phase and analysis of the resources submitted in response to the programme’s initial call for practice.

Our collective knowledge of and understanding of child exploitation and extra-familial harm is still a developing field. Ideas and examples from across the sector and beyond may help bring a fresh new perspective or unlock a problem. The resources below are part of this rich conversation.

This is a growing body of knowledge and the resources available in these sections will expand as our learning from delivery grows.

Blurring Boundaries resources aim to help us ask what existing expertise are there in this broader context that we are ‘sitting on’? What might have transferable learning that we could draw on to tackle issues across child exploitation and extra-familial harm and unlock capacity?How are we thinking about safeguarding beyond just statutory intervention?How are we able to move away from binary understandings of people, their experiences and our responses in our system design?How are distinctions between ‘child‘ and ‘adult’ or ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ affecting our ability to tackle and extra-familial harm? Could service and geographical boundaries be aligned or integrated to offer easier access?How can we deliberately model, at a policy and strategic level, approaches that have been developed at a practice level?These resources draw heavily on ecological approaches and expertise from non-statutory agencies who work closely with children and young people and/or in community contexts. They challenge us to think about safeguarding beyond just statutory intervention and highlight the value of community-based support.  What change can we achieve by working to understand and provide a strategic response that reflects the wider system that children and young people operate within? How can we better design systems aligned to what we know about what keeps young people safe or increases their exposure to risk, rather than rigid boundaries and definitions?
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Leading with Care resources are intended to support us to reflect on how far our leadership approach and behaviours explicitly align with the learning from, and needs of, young people and families for whom exploitation is a concern. Drawing particularly on the principles of restorative practice (fair process, voice, using restorative questions, and accountability) is there a different approach?If we place the needs and perspectives of children and young people at the heart of our approach, what reflections on how we handle authority and understand the impact of our actions follow?What is the behavioural impact of lack of access and lack of support?How do we unblock difficult conversations and situations across all kinds of professions and roles?What should we take from practice to influence our strategic leadership?What helpful leadership learning is there in trauma-informed practice responses?Responses to exploitation can sometimes be framed in terms of process, risk-management and efforts to reform a young person’s behaviour. Yet this approach can be experienced by young people as mirroring the controlling or coercive contexts of exploitation. Placing their perspective at the heart of our approach invites us all to think differently about what we are trying to achieve strategically.
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The resources in this section focus less on what we do and more on how we can apply the emerging evidence we have in relation to child exploitation and extra-familial harm to positively disrupt approaches not designed to meet the challenges of extra-familial harm.This is a growing body of knowledge and the resources available in these sections will expand as our learning from delivery grows.Our Working with Uncertainty, Complexity and Curiosity resources acknowledge what a challenging, constantly-moving and strategic context working in child exploitation and extra-familial harm is.We want to explore how we best approach work in areas where we don’t always know enough to feel comfortable and confident.Can we hold space for what we don’t know?Where we don’t ‘know’, is there learning we could draw on or apply to a new context?What behaviours make complexity feel more manageable?Is there an opportunity to do something differently?These resources focus on supporting local areas to critically assess and apply evidence, and to reflect on how this relates to strategic decision-making.
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Call for Knowledge & Practice

Help us to develop our thinking and grow our evidence base by letting us know about tools, resources and learning that you have either created or used to develop your approach to tackling child exploitation.

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