Fortnightly Safeguarding Briefing

9th September 2019

Safeguarding Network - Confidence in safeguarding

Welcome to our first briefing after the summer break

Welcome back, we hope that in the break you have at least managed to get a couple of weeks rest and relaxation before rushing headlong back into life.  Here at Safeguarding Network we spent the summer looking at the new Keeping Children Safe in Education and the changes that this bought in. Safeguarding Network have produced a 5 point summary. There are now by our calculation some 42 different safeguarding issues mentioned in Part 1 that staff are expected to be knowledgeable about and receive updates on.

This is where Safeguarding Network can help with monthly 15 minute updates for staff designed to cover all 42 areas across a two year curriculum.  Our Keeping Children Safe in Education Knowledge Check will also allow you to evidence the requirement that your staff not only have read Part 1, but understand it.  Visit our website for more information or subscribe today for £99 per term.

In this briefing:

  • County lines
  • Stalking Protection Act 2019
  • housing / homelessness
  • Female Genital Mutilation Update
Teenager looking away down train tracks

County Lines

Regular readers of this briefing will recall that county lines was mentioned in several briefings last year.  Over the summer there have been a number of news reports about gangs running county lines boasting about the ease with which they can access children and young people from schools.  A BBC news report also shows gangs posting videos mocking the Police and showing off the money that they claim they are bringing in.  Analysis by the BBC of Police data between 2013 and 2018 shows that whilst overall drug crime may be reducing, there is a substantial shift from big cities to more rural areas.

The Children's Commissioner also commented last week when launching her manifesto ahead of any general election, stating that in her view schools 'should open every day and have police officers to tackle gangs'.  Whatever your view on this statement, this continues to a growing issue that all organisations need to be aware of.

It is therefore important that staff are aware of county lines and what this can mean for the children and young people they work with - children being targeted are not just those in care.  Safeguarding Network has more information available and subscribing organisations can access our staff update materials.

Stalking Protection Act 2019

A recent event near our offices reminded us of the Stalking Protection Act 2019.  The Act received relatively little news time when it received Royal Assent in March, however is worth knowing about if you are working with parents who are victims of stalking.  Stalking itself is not explicitly defined, however the act allows for civil orders (Stalking Protection Orders) to be applied for by the Police which can contain specific requirements and prohibitions to provide protection for the victim.  A breach of the order is a criminal offence.  These orders are mainly designed for use where existing interventions are not applicable e.g.

  • where the stalking does not come under the definition of domestic abuse; or
  • the stalker is effectively a stranger; or
  • the victim does not support a prosecution.

Being stalked can be a traumatic experience and therefore this provides further ways to address the problem.

Shipping containers

Housing and homelessness

Over the summer there were media reports linked to the use of shipping containers amongst other things as temporary accommodation.  A Children's Commissioner report (Bleak Houses) goes further suggesting that there are not just the children and young people who are living in temporary accommodation (which official statistics suggest to number around 124,000), but an almost equal number who are sofa-surfing (estimated around 90,000).  Whilst not necessarily an immediate safeguarding issue, for many children and young people this can mean lack of routines and stability along with parental stress due to not having a permanent place to call home.  A proportion of families will have additional worries, for example they have been found intentionally homeless and / or may have no recourse to public funds.

Temporary accommodation can include B&Bs, office accommodation, converted shipping containers and houses of multiple occupancy (also known as reception centres).  In some cases the accommodation is miles away from where the family originate from and therefore support networks are impacted.  It is therefore important that we are aware of the impact on children and young people and can provide help and support at the earliest opportunity.

Housing issues and poverty are the subject of next month's staff update for organisations subscribing to Safeguarding Network - this will be released shortly.  For schools, Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education identifies when schools should progress concerns and duties on local authorities under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

Female Genital Mutilation Update

Just before the summer break, the Local Government Association in conjunction with other organisations release updated guidance for schools around Female Genital Mutilation.  This guidance provides information about female genital mutilation (FGM) along with mandatory requirements and advice around how to explore concerns.

Whilst there is a lot of emphasis on FGM leading up to the summer holidays, it is important that we remain aware of the risks posed to girls and young women throughout the year.  Safeguarding Network have a page on FGM and will be developing resources to support staff learning.

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.

Visit https://safeguarding.network/subscribe for more information.

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