We have developed an evidence-based, family-centered model which reduces the risk factors for an exploited child and enhances the capacity of everyone responsible for supporting the family to make the child safer.
Professionals work in partnership with parents, facilitating and supporting them, in order to maximise the ability and capacity of statutory agencies’ and families’ to safeguard a child at risk of being exploited.
The model has been developed to:
- Safeguard children
- Respond to the specific emotional and relational dynamics of the ‘grooming’ of a victim
- Increase focus on early intervention and prevention of child exploitation
- Increase prosecutions of offenders
- Improve parent and family engagement with statutory agencies
- Empower parents to provide long term support for the victim
Why is the current child protection model ineffective?
It has been well documented that the existing child protection model is failing at keeping children safe from exploitation because it has been designed to protect children from abuse within the home and is focussed on the assessment of parental and home circumstances. This presumption of blame disempowers parents from engaging with services and more often benefits the offenders as it enables them to continue manipulating and exploiting the child.
Working with families, keeping families together and helping to rebuild families needs to become an integral part of the statutory response to child exploitation across the United Kingdom.
What does the relational safeguarding model provide?
- Statutory cost savings including reducing the risk of a child going into a secure unit, court cases collapsing due to the failure of child witnesses to attend and family breakdown.
- Cost effective support for parents in order to maintain the emotional, physical and mental resilience of the family while supporting an exploited child.
- The empathy and time to build a relationship with families, which facilitates mutually beneficial engagement with the statutory agencies.
- Independent support to parents to empower them to work in partnership with statutory agencies in protecting a child and prosecuting perpetrators.
- An increase in parental understanding and knowledge of child exploitation and a reduction in the risk to children and young people.
- A conduit for parents to share information with the police which can support intelligence-led mapping, targeting of perpetrators and prosecutions.
- Knowledge, support and practical intervention to ensure parents and the child or young person attend court as witnesses.
- Long term emotional support and resilience before, during and post the criminal justice process.
Affected parents are unanimous that, without the support offered, they would not have got through their ordeal.