Safeguarding Young People Safeguarding Young People Responding to young people aged 11 to 17 who are maltreated Dr Alison Jobe and Dr Sarah Gorin, NSPCC Slide 2 Safeguarding Young People Dr Sarah Gorin Senior Research Officer NSPCC Slide 3 Introduction Three and a half year project January 2007 to July 2010 Undertaken jointly by The Childrens Society, NSPCC and the University of York Funded by the Big Lottery Research Grants Programme Focused on the under-researched issue of the maltreatment of young people in the UK Undertaken alongside study on Neglect of Adolescents funded by the then DfES Slide 4 Background to the research Literature review, commissioned by NSPCC in 1999, highlighted the lack of attention to this issue, especially in the UK Little further development by 2005 Practice experience and anecdotal evidence that there may be a gap in recognition of, and responses to, maltreated young people Statistical evidence that substantial numbers of young people are maltreated Evidence that the types of risks facing young people are different to those facing younger children Slide 5 Purpose and aims The purpose of the research was to explore access to, and initial responses of, Childrens services for young people with potential maltreatment issues in order to: Inform future policy Inform practitioners in voluntary and statutory agencies Inform future training of practitioners In order to: promote improved protective responses for this target group Slide 6 Research components International literature review A study of policy and guidance A survey of risk assessment and decision-making amongst professionals in 12 local areas A study of practice in four local areas, including interviews with young people and professionals Slide 7 Today we are going to cover: Scale of the problem Statistics from referral data Information about professionals decision-making about referrals of young people The referral process as experienced by professionals The initial response of social care practitioners to referrals and their perspectives Young peoples experiences of referral and initial responses Slide 8 The scale of the issue On 31 March 2010 in England: 39,100 children were subject of a Child Protection Plan 10,000 were aged 10 to 15, and 780 young people were aged 16 and over A quarter of the serious case reviews from 2007- 2009 were about older young people (Brandon et al, 2009) Actual prevalence of maltreatment is known to be much higher Radford et al Slide 9 Statistics on referrals and responses Statistics were gathered from 4 local authorities on referrals and subsequent actions by age. These showed that as young people get older a referral is less likely to receive child protection and related responses The statistics and qualitative interviews highlight the wide variation between and within local authorities in how they deal with young people. Slide 10 Example local area statistics Slide 11 Professionals making referrals The survey and interviews found that: If professionals thought a young person was at risk of significant harm they were as likely to make a referral as with younger children However professionals perceptions of the initial risk children and young people were at, was affected by age. Slide 12 Age related factors that influenced professionals decision-making Within their assessments of risk, professionals tended to see young people aged 11 to 17 as: More competent to deal with maltreatment escaping the situation and seeking help More resilient More likely to be contributing to and exacerbating situations through own behaviour More likely to be putting themselves at risk Slide 13 Influence of age on decision-making If Ive got an allegation that mum has slapped a child round the face, then Im not condoning that at all, but if were talking about a teenage person whos been slapped round the face for basically gobbing off at mum, I may take that a little less seriously than if the child is 2 or 3 years old. Because its a completely different scenario in my opinion. I appreciate that the assault is exactly the same, but the circumstances are different and you know the response again you know in my opinion can be different. Police Officer Slide 14 During referral process Working relationships between professionals and Childrens Social Care Services were generally viewed very positively. Good practice examples included: Feeling able to ring Childrens Social Care Services to discuss cases Being able to challenge decisions. Factors that helped were co-location and building consistent relationships with social care practitioners. Slide 15 Obstacles to making referrals Perception of high thresholds Complex ethical decisions e.g. young people not wanting to be referred, sexual relationships with older men More uncertainty about emotional abuse and neglect Potential negative impact on young person and families of making referral Police and education cited resource issues for them in assessing cases and making referrals Slide 16 Safeguarding Young People Dr. Alison Jobe Senior Research Officer NSPCC Slide 17 Initial responses to referrals by Childrens Social Care Services Certain age related factors affected response by Social Work practitioners. These factors included: Young persons perceived competence and resilience Resource issues and the need to prioritise resources Young people seen as more challenging to engage and work with and have different needs. Slide 18 Prioritising resources Interviewer: Ok, what do you see as the biggest challenges you face in terms of providing protective services for older children? SWP: Prioritising them. Thats got to be it. You know, we are an understaffed team with, you know, worked to the hilt, staff here dont just dont have a second in the day at all to take a breather and we cant, we cant rush out to a sixteen year old whos perhaps sofa-surfing and perhaps experimenting with drugs and getting into crime, you know thats a big worry, but we cant prioritise that when were working with 0 to 5 year olds in, you know, some pretty dire situations. Social work practitioner Slide 19 Ongoing responses to young people Common view was held by social care practitioners that the child protection process was often not the best way of responding to young people because: Process less relevant when young people put themselves at risk or are maltreated outside the family Difficult to engage young people in Child Protection process Child Protection process does not allow young people enough involvement/control Child Protection plans may not be effective if parents are not committed to keeping young people at home. Slide 20 Social work practitioners views I think when children get to fourteen & fifteen and are, are a risk to themselves then the child protection system becomes irrelevant to them Social Work Practitioner The child protection process is pretty irrelevant to teenagers, if youve got a child whose hurting themselves for lots of reasons, maybe alcohol misuse, or you know, sexual exploitation or mental health, then theyre a risk to themselves And its very hard to stop people being a risk to themselves, very, very difficult indeed. The child protection plan is not really relevant in that case. In the circumstances where they are at risk to themselves, the child protection process is pretty irrelevant, where theres been some risk from other people then we would definitely go child protection. Social Work Practitioner Slide 21 Alternative responses Dealing with young people through Child in Need route. Using multi-agency approach e.g. Common Assessment Framework or other multi-agency risk assessment e.g. Team Around the Child. These were believed to give young people more autonomy, input and control over the process. Also a lead professional with an existing relationship with the young person could be identified. However little is known about which process has the best outcomes for young people. Slide 22 Young peoples experiences of seeking help Barriers included: Ability to develop consistent trusting relationship with a professional. Potential impact of a disclosure on themselves, family, friends, abuser. Lack of information about helping agencies, who to approach and how to access help. Slide 23 Importance of developing trusting relationships Cos me and my mum used to cover it up. I used to have bruises, the lot, and we just used to make up stories and just so at the same time its what the child wants to tell you and its what the parent wants to tell you. Because things can easily get covered up. Because Ive done it many a time before and thats only purely because I was so loyal to my mum and I thought social services were the bad ones. And its just I think thats when the whole close relationship thing comes in, because if the child really is hurting and they do need someone to talk to, then youve got to get their trust first before theyll do that. Like cos social services just used to walk into my house and think Im just going to tell them everything and its not like that. Anna, aged 17 Slide 24 Young peoples experiences of child protection process Importance of a good relationship with a social worker for disclosure and feeling safe afterwards Interviewer: And what about the second social worker? Laura: Shes really Ive still got her now, shes really, really niceLike shes really easy to talk to and really chatty. Shes a lot more helpful than the first one, like Ive had regular meetings with her, and weve done like mind maps of family and like putting people who are closer in the inner circles and stuff like that. Laura, age 15 Slide 25 Obstacles to building positive relationships Numerous social workers. Not being able to contact social worker. Lack of clarity- not understanding processes or the roles of different professionals. Not feeling listened to or informed.