“Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over these contexts, and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships.” https://contextualsafeguarding.org.uk/
Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside of our Academy, for example factors specific to the local community and population. When assessing, planning, or implementing safeguarding polices, protocols and procedures, staff consider a range of contextual factors contributing to the risk of the individual’s safety, well-being and welfare. When making a referral or sharing information with agencies, these risks must also be considered and well documented.
Triangle chart for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families
Understanding the contextual safeguarding risks means that we can respond to the experiences that young people face in their wider, extra-familial environment. The safeguarding team, along with all Academy staff, are aware of the potential risks and that students may be vulnerable to multiple harms beyond the home. The Academy is located in the Pollards Hill ward in the London Borough of Merton; however, it must be noted that although 64% of the student population are Merton residents, 25%, are Croydon residents and 6% are Lambeth residents. Therefore, is it important that contextual priorities are considered across all three London Boroughs.
Merton’s local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership - https://www.mertonscp.org.uk/
The current priorities of the MSCP are:
1. Early Help
This work is part of a whole system approach and is based on a clear understanding of local need. The Partnership’s priority is to ensure that there is clear coordination and quality assurance of Early Help, with a shared focus on the journey and experience of the child and family.
2. Think family: Domestic Abuse and Neglect
The Safeguarding Partnership actively monitors, promotes, coordinates, and evaluates the work of partner agencies to help protect children at risk of domestic abuse, including working effectively with other multi-agency groups that have responsibility for responding to domestic abuse.
The Partnership actively monitors, promotes, coordinates, and evaluates the work of all agencies to ensure they help and protect children at risk of neglect, this includes working effectively with other multi-agency groups that have responsibility for responding to neglect.
3. Contextual Safeguarding
The Partnership will work with all agencies to ensure that there is a highly coordinated multi-agency and whole-council approach to a range of adolescent risks that occur in contexts beyond the family home (e.g., neighbourhood, schools, local shopping centres, youth venues etc.). These risks include child criminal exploitation, child sexual exploitation, serious youth violence, peer on peer abuse, harmful sexual behaviour, and other overlapping forms of harm. The Partnership is aware of the risks of exploitation in their local area.
How does Harris Academy Merton support Merton’s Contextual Safeguarding Priorities?
|Risk and Priority||Academy Response|
Domestic Abuse and Neglect