In June 2023 the NSCP agreed to prioritise neglect, child exploitation and family and community networking as key areas for learning and improvement. Priorities are selected based on data and performance intelligence, including learning from local and national child safeguarding practice reviews. We also continue to be committed developing trauma informed leadership and practice and the workforce development group will keep this as a priority in their work.
Each priority area is led by one of the three statutory partners, Children’s Services (neglect), Police (child exploitation) and Health (Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Care Board designated Safeguarding Team – family and community networking). This ties in neatly to our governance arrangements and reinforces the message of joined up leadership.
Strategies have been published against each area and are available on the dedicated pages of the NSCP website:
The NSCP Multi-Agency Neglect Strategy was revised and updated in March 2023.
- Neglect Identification Toolkit (NIT)
- Safeguarding Response to Obesity when Neglect is an Issue
- Child Neglect, Be Professionally Curious!– Investigators/Practitioners Guidance Notes
- Joint Targeted Area Inpsections Framework and Guidance
- Guidance for joint targeted area inspections on the theme: children living with neglect
Neglect Champions Information
- Latest Neglect Newsletter – Autumn 2022
- The Role of Neglect Champions August 2022
- If you are interested in signing up form to become a neglect champion, please complete this form
Norfolk Graded Care Profile
Published reports on Neglect by the NSPCC
- An overview of the NSPCC’s learning
- A new approach to assessing child neglect: Evidence Based Decision-Making
- A new approach to assessing child neglect: Graded Care Profile (+ a report into the testing of the validity and reliability of Graded Care Profile)
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of a home based programme to prevent neglect (+ a report into the experiences of the parents who used it)
- Evaluation of programme focusing on practical parenting strategies
- Evaluation of programme using videos of parent-child interaction
- A report on how professionals want to be supported when responding to neglect
- A report on the experiences of neglected children and professionals who help neglected children, who phone the NSPCC for help
- For commissioners and decision-makers: a framework for preventing neglect
Vulnerable Adolescent Strategy
- NSCP Vulnerable Adolescents Strategy - July 2023
- NSCP Vulnerable Adolescents Strategy At-a-Glance – April 2021
NCC Documents, forms and guidance on CE & Missing Children
- Multi agency Child Exploitation Screening Process
- Statutory Guidance – Roles & Responsibilities for when a child goes missing
- Statutory Guidance – When a child goes missing
- Good practice guide to responding to gang related violence
- Good Practice Guide to child planning meetings for children with an identified risk of child exploitation (CE) and or serious youth violence
- Contextual Safeguarding Toolkit
- Harmful Sexual Behaviour Resources
Child exploitation Training & Other Training Links
- Child Exploitation E-Learning Package
- Events – NWG Network – Exploitation and Victim Blaming Webinars
- Safeguarding Adults from Exploitation Training
- Home Office NRM First Responder Training
Other CSE Resources
- Signs of Something – CSE Animation
- CEOP Think U Know Toolkit
- Child sexual exploitation: DfE definition and guide for practitioners
- NHS England pocket guide – Advice for Healthcare Staff on Child sexual exploitation
- Preventing youth violence and gang involvement – Practical advice from DfE for schools and colleges
- Barnardo’s Real Love Rocks – new website available Spring 2022
- City & Hackney SCR – Child C
- Oxfordshire SCR- Jacob
- Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation – Action Plan
- Barnardo’s – Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation
- The Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation In Gangs and Groups
- Puppet on a String – Believe in Children – Barnardo’s
- Relational Safeguarding Model – Pace Report
- Barnardo’s – Running from Hate to what you think is Love
- Seriously Awkward: How vulnerable 16-17 year olds are falling through the cracks
- International Comparison Report on CSE
- Time to listen – a joined up response to Child Sexual Exploitation and Missing Children
- Child Sexual Exploitation and support in children’s residential homes – DfE report March 2016
- Home Office report on Group-based Child Sexual Exploitation
- Child sexual exploitation: How public health can support prevention and intervention
- The National Crime Agency has some useful videos and information on Child Exploitation.
- Talking to your child about online sexual harassment – A Guide for Parents
- Towards Hope – a video to challenge the stigma associated with child exploitation from Pace.
- Debt Bondage resource within a criminal exploitation and county lines context – from The Children’s Society 2022
- Multi-agency Practice Principles for responding to child exploitation and extra-familial harm
- Child Exploitation Appropriate Language Guide 2022
- Criminal Exploitation Of Children Young People And Vulnerable Adults - County Lines
The Family & Community Networking Strategy is under development. We aim to publish in early 2024.
If you are interested in family networking training please see our NSCP Training page.
If you need a consultation or would like to discuss family networking with the Family Group Conferencing and Family Networking Advisory Service please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Family networking is the overarching principle and approach to identifying and engaging the family’s networks in the planning, decision-making and support for their children. The established team of Family Group Conference and Family Networking Advisors delivers Family Group Conferencing alongside helping to promote and embed the Signs of Safety model of family networking throughout prevention and early help partners and children’s social care teams.
The Family Networking Approach is encompassed in all FGC work with FGC’s offering a specific opportunity for families and their extended network to come together and make a robust plan. FGC services were initially developed to identify and implement family/network support for children where families were in crisis and there was a risk of statutory intervention.
In Norfolk FGC’s are currently offered to families:
- within the Child in Need and Child Protection arena as part of support and safety planning for children to have needs met by parents and/or network,
- planning for family time,
- when services are coming to an end,
- where there are difficulties with a child’s education or attending school.
Involving network members in decision-making and planning through embedding the Family Networking Approach as a way of working allows them to feel heard and be part of the solution. It acknowledges and demonstrates the strength within the network, mitigating the worries of professionals, and empowering the family and network members to make decisions and support sustainable positive change.
Further information on family networking including videos and downloadable tools are available here - Family Networking (justonenorfolk.nhs.uk)
The National Child Safeguarding Review Panel report The Myth of Invisible Men, published September 2021, outlined the pressing need for all organisations working with children and families to engage with fathers and father figures more effectively.
Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership is responding to this report and implementing a father inclusive strategy across the whole partnership to raise the visibility of fathers and improve the engagement of fathers in Universal, Early Help and Specialist Children’s Services.
You will find links to organisations that support fathers below, but it is essential that all professionals and organisations understand that guiding fathers to father specific organisations and resources is valuable, but it is not father engagement. Engaging and working with fathers is everyone’s business and adjustments in service delivery have to be made in order to become inclusive in practice.
The Fatherhood Institute is one of the most respected fatherhood organisations in the world. A registered UK charity (number 1075104), their work focuses on:
- collating, participating in and publicising research
- lobbying for legal and policy changes
- helping public services, employers and others become more father-inclusive, and
The website is a valuable and user-friendly resource to source any number of research topics relating to fathers.
- Unseen Men – Summary of key issues and learning for improved practice around ‘unseen’ men
- Hidden in Plain Sight – Why language matters
Match of the Dads is an award-winning support network & 5-a-side football league just for Dads, Step-Dads and Dads-to-be, playing Monday nights at the FDC in Norwich between 7:30-9:30pm. They accept all ages, abilities and levels of fitness! To join them or if you have any questions, just visit their website and click “join us”.
Norfolk Community Law Service
Advice and support for people going through the family courts who don’t have a lawyer; also a range of free legal advice services including debt, discrimination, domestic abuse, employment, immigration and welfare benefits appeals.
Articles and information
Dr Mark Osborn talks about Dads and mental health in the 12th Man Radio Show recorded on 3rd November 2022 – available on demand here
Working with fathers to safeguard children – Osborn, M. (2014) Child Abuse & Neglect 38: 993-1001. Available here
Young fathers: unseen but not invisible – Osborn, M. (2015) Families, Relationships and Societies, 4(2), 323-329. Available here
Working with fathers – key advice from research
What is trauma?
Trauma Informed Practice targets developing an understanding of the emotional psychological trauma people experience as they go through life as opposed to the physical trauma of injuries to the body.
Trauma tends to fall into one of three categories:
Acute Trauma which results from a single extreme and distressing event which threatens a persons physical and emotional safety and may include an accident, an assault, a natural disaster.
Chronic Trauma describes trauma which happens repeatedly such as in war and domestic abuse or child abuse.
Complex trauma describes the experience of multiple, long term, usually varied trauma as child abuse and domestic abuse where the person is exposed to a range of traumatic experiences usually perpetrated by a caregiver or partner and includes a sense of betrayal.
Whichever category of trauma is present the person who has been traumatised will find a reduction in their ability to cope when facing perceived threat in the moment.
What is trauma informed practice?
Trauma informed practice looks at how all human beings respond to threat in their environment and how organisations, managers, practitioners and service users can work together to identify and manage threat, empowering each other towards supportive independence.
From birth our brains start to develop neural pathways which determine our values, beliefs and expectations of the world and the people in it.
These pathways are unique to us and are created through our individual experiences.
Neural pathways are then used to interpret the world around us and the experiences and people we encounter as we go through life.
Threat can be an actual physical threat of injury or an emotional threat which triggers, sometimes unconscious, memories.
When our brain perceives a higher level of threat, the survival system, located in our unconscious primitive brain. takes control of our actions and behaviour.
Have you ever walked away from a stressful event and thought to yourself “why can’t keep my mouth shut?” or conversely “why do I just shut down, why can’t I speak and put my point across?”
These responses may be your survival system taking control and, at an unconscious level, based on previous experience, deciding the best course of action in the moment to keep you safe.
By being trauma informed Practitioners are able to understand the reasons threat impairs service users’ ability to engage and support them to overcome those barriers.
Our perception of threat is based in our memory of previous experience which establishes our perspective of the world. This perspective becomes our filter through which we interpret current events. Where high levels of threat are perceived, the primitive, reactive, unconscious brain cuts off access to our rational, thinking brain and takes control, deciding which course of action will keep us safe in the moment.
Our survival system, working in conjunction with our emotional memory, has a limited choice of responses which include:
In fight mode the person will experience agitation and a quickening of their senses the automatic behavioural response is to attack, verbally or physically.
In flight mode the person will experience the feeling of being trapped and the behavioural response is to get out.
In freeze mode the person will feel themselves shutting down, unable to engage
In flop mode the body and mind become inaccessible. The brain protects the person from extreme threat by dissociation and, or fainting.
In friend mode the person feels anxious and will attempt to appease a perceived threatening person by being overly helpful, supportive and may even degrade themselves in order to please the other.
These behavioural responses are universal and unconscious.
The Window of Tolerance (first identified by Dr Dan Siegel – link in resources below) explains how people move from calm and engaged, able to function and achieve, to becoming overwhelmed and disengaged.
The Window of Tolerance falls into three sections with the middle section being the optimal. We feel calm, in control and able to fully function. When our perceived threat increases, we begin to move up towards the fight flight zone feeling ourselves getting more and more agitated, or, down towards the freeze flop zone feeling ourselves slipping away. Sometimes instantly and at others gradually our unconscious primitive brain takes over and we lose conscious control of our behaviour.
As practitioners, we need to be able to recognise where our service users are in their window of tolerance and help them to come back into the middle window before we can do any meaningful work.
There are many ways we can help people to come back to the window of tolerance and remain there, which are freely available online including:
- Fight or flight – Breath exercises
- Freeze – get them moving
- Empowering the service user to remain in, and expand their window of tolerance – grounding techniques
- Expanding and empowering the service user to remain in their window of tolerance – grounding techniques
- By being aware of a service users threat response and helping them to return to their window of tolerance we can facilitate meaningful engagement and reduce disguised compliance
- By explaining trauma responses to service users we can reduce shame and guilt and provide options which empower and motivation change.
Self-help – tools and tactics
As we are all Human, we will all have times when we find ourselves wandering out of our window of tolerance, feeling anxious, frustrated, angry, or depressed, unfocussed and unmotivated.
Fortunately, Mental health and wellbeing are at the top of the agenda across society and so you can find a lot of support and ideas both through local authorities and charities but also online.
It is important you find ways which work for you, a range of ideas which are enjoyable and easy for you to fit into your day.
Exercise – Physical activity burns off the adrenaline we produce when in fight/flight mode and so reduces bodily tension. Choose and activity you enjoy, not one which feels like a chore, and can fit into your day. Yes, dancing around the living room does count.
Eat and sleep well – Keeping our bodies well fuelled and rested builds our resilience and ability to cope with stress. Many people have difficulty sleeping because thoughts get in the way so try distracting your brain by listening to something relaxing such as a relaxation recording and try a relaxing bedtime routine. Wellbeing apps such as Calm and headspace are designed to provide relaxation tips to suit your circumstances throughout the day.
Simple breathing exercises:
Box Breathing – useful to ground yourself in the moment. Imagine a box in front of you (or look at one in your room) and breathe in for a count of four while letting your eyes move up the side of the box. Hold your breath for the count of four while scrolling across the top of the box. Breath out for a count of four as your eyes scroll down the box and hold your breath again and you scroll along the bottom. Repeat as many times as you need to.
7 – 11 breathing – useful for calming yourself. Breathe in for a count of 7, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for the count of 11 hold to a count of 4. Repeat 3 times.
Grounding – There are a wide range of activities we can use to ground us and expand our window of tolerance. Mindfulness, Yoga, Meditation etc and the internet has many useful resources some of which are listed in the resources section
Talking and sharing – Find 5 people you trust; they can be your helping hands. Talk honestly and openly with them about your stresses and fears before they build up and become a problem, also listen to those people, they may well notice you are getting stressed before you do.