Fortnightly Safeguarding Briefing

11th February 2019

Safeguarding Network - Confidence in safeguarding

Welcome to your safeguarding briefing

As we continue to plough through the first half of term once again the weather cannot seem to make up its mind as to whether it wants to be winter or spring. The focus of the update this week has been shaped by happenings in the news (other than whether it will snow or not). Before we move on, a quick reminder that as covered in the last briefing, the Ofsted inspection framework consultation continues until the 5th April.

In this update:

  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Peer on peer abuse
  • County lines update
Teenage female looking sad

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

You may have seen on the news that a mother has recently become the first person in the UK to be found guilty of female genital mutilation. During the trail the court heard that the mother "coached" her daughter "to lie to the police so she wouldn't get caught". When in hospital the mother claimed that her daughter (3 years old) "fell on metal and it's ripped her private parts".

Since the 31st October 2015 there has been a mandatory duty on teachers as well as regulated health and social care professionals to report known cases of FGM in under 18-year-olds to the police. This means that the professional is personally responsible for making the report, and not a designated lead. It is therefore important that staff in these professions are aware of signs and symptoms as well as their personal responsibility.

Safeguarding Network have resources available to help with staff awareness and training. The National FGM centre have a one page document setting out the types of FGM and implications of FGM.

Young girl looking out of rainy window with hand in front of face

Peer on peer abuse

The TES ran an article identifying Amanda Spielman's apparent lack of knowledge about government guidance as to how schools should deal with pupil on pupil sexual abuse. This guidance is further incorporated into Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 5) and sets out clearly how schools should respond.

Safeguarding Network have resources available in relation to peer on peer abuse, including signs and symptoms and how we should respond.

County Lines update

In our last update we looked at the issue of county lines. Since then the National Crime Agency has published its fourth annual assessment of county lines and the issues that they cause. This reinforces that county lines are a growing problem, with children between 15 and 17 making up the bulk of young people referred for being involved in county lines.

In a report to a recent Home Affairs select committee session on serious violence, Simon Blackburn (Chair of LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board) told MPs that in his experience many of the young people involved in county lines were unknown to Children's Services, and that they "weren't presenting with any of the indicators of neglect or abuse that might trigger a social work investigation or enquiry".

Presenting evidence to the same committee, Lucy Dacey (Children's Society) stated that gangs were evolving how they work to make detection more difficult. "Perpetrators now know that a long missing episode is recognised as an indicator of county lines exploitation, so we’re seeing children going missing for a day, distributing drugs and coming back, so they’re not technically reported as missing. [...] The model has changed very quickly".

It is therefore important that as front-line services, we and our staff are as aware as we can be of risk factors to identify young people at risk as early as possible. Safeguarding Network have developed a resource page on county lines. Members can also access our staff update materials.

Who are we?

Safeguarding Network recognise that the demands on schools are increasing from every aspect. Safeguarding is no exception. Using our front-line safeguarding experience and knowledge we develop resources to help schools meet their safeguarding requirements with the aim of helping lighten the load.

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