Fortnightly Safeguarding Briefing

11th November 2019

Safeguarding Network - Confidence in safeguarding

Welcome to your latest briefing

I was reminded the other day how quickly attentions can change. Brexit for example has gone to being a distant memory in place of the impending election and summer / Halloween / bonfire night is now replaced by Christmas. It is important that this does not happen in relation to safeguarding - although, as we see below we are in anti-bullying week, it is important that the focus on this important part of safeguarding does not dull our sensitivities to all other aspects of safeguarding.

In this briefing:

  • Anti-bullying week
  • Sexual violence / Sexual Harassment
  • Effective leadership in child protection
  • Criminalisation of children in care
Change starts with us report cover

Anti-bullying week

Running from today (11th November) to the 15th November, this year's theme is "Change starts with us". The aim of the week is to create empowering positive messages and let everyone know that they can play their part in tackling bullying. The accompanying report provides a number of such messages, looking at the roles that children & young people, parents & carers, educational settings, government, tech companies and influencers can promote in order to tackle bullying.

Research for the report identifies that of 1,000 11-16 year olds:

  • 24% report being bullied once a week or more, and
  • 11% report they have missed school because of bullying.

The same research shows the lengths that some children will go to in order to avoid being bullied, e.g. changing their routes to school, or avoiding certain social situations.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance has tools available to work with children and young people in relation to bullying.

Safeguarding Network has resources for subscribing schools to update staff in relation to bullying, with this month's focus being on peer on peer abuse, looking in part at school culture, and reinforcing that change does indeed start with us.

Effective leadership in child protection

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has announced a new investigation into Effective Leadership of Child Protection. In this investigation, the enquiry will look at what needs to happen to ensure safe and effective organisations which are open, transparent and understand the needs of the groups they serve. At the moment the enquiry is seeking applications from those who want to be core participants, but watch this space as findings should help inform multi-agency practice.

Computer screen

Sexual violence / sexual harassment

To support anti-bullying week, Safeguarding Network have launched a short elearning course on sexual violence and sexual harassment. This online learning course provides information about what is meant by sexual harassment, sexual violence and sexually harmful behaviour. Users will consider what consent is and the role of consent as well as what they should do if they have concerns and what should happen after they report concerns. Find out more here.

Criminalisation of children in care

A recent briefing published by the Howard League for Penal Reform identified that whilst there had been a drop in the numbers of children in care being criminalised, the numbers are still disproportionate to the wider population. The majority of calls appear to relate to missing incidents (building on the information already provided in the Safeguarding Network Missing Children update), but it also suggests that the Police are being used as a means to manage behaviour, inappropriately criminalising children.

It is important as a body of professionals working with children and young people in care that we ensure that children are not criminalised unnecessarily and that agencies work together to make sure that responses are appropriate and measured, using routes such as reviews and care planning to work to build supports around the child or young person. For example, if a child does go missing, what is the reason for this - could it be bullying, county lines, or something else altogether?

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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