‘Unpacking’ the Principle and why it matters

Responding to the complexity of child exploitation and extra-familial harm requires curiosity, critical thinking and analysis skills, a commitment to reflection and learning, and the thoughtful use of evidence at all levels of the system.

Critical thinking, evidence synthesis and analysis are crucially important in considering multiple sources of information and intelligence in order to:

  • build an accurate picture of how child exploitation and extra-familial harm is manifesting in a local area
  • understand what is happening in a child or young person’s life
  • keep up to date with evolving knowledge and research.

In direct practice and in management and strategic partnership activity, curiosity is needed to actively challenge assumptions and consider what is not known, alongside what is known. This kind of approach requires individuals and agencies to acknowledge uncertainty, invite expertise from others, to be creative and to try new things. No single individual or agency can know everything and there are no simple answers.

This approach means using data or research to ask questions, rather than expecting definitive answers. It also means learning from children, young people, their parents / carers and other sources of knowledge and insight within their wider communities, and paying attention to the potential for unintended consequences as a result of professional intervention(s).

I feel properly seen, because the people who are there to help me put in the effort to understand me and my life. They are knowledgeable and always learning about how to help me feel safer.

How it should feel for a child / young person being supported