NWG Newsletter – May 2020 

In this issue:  

  • Exploitation and Transition / Education and Communities 
  • Sports and Activities 
  • Prevention and Disruption 
  • Training 
  • Network 

Exploitation and Transition / Education and Communities: Steve Baguley 

Since the start of the COVID 19 lockdown the NWG has been sharing practice, identifying key learning and plans for recovery from areas across the country. These are available on the NWG website ‘Latest News’ section and in resources. Thank you to all the areas who have participated in this work and for the feedback on how helpful this has been. On May 22nd we held a ZOOM meeting with a number of areas ,voluntary sector, police etc ,which started with an excellent input from Dr Warren Larkin on “An Overview of Adversity and Trauma During the Lockdown ” A full transcript from the meeting  is available on the NWG website titled ” Supporting and Safeguarding Exploited People in the Context of COVID Lockdown and Beyond ” A podcast of Dr Larkin’s input is also available . 

NWG  are continuing this work especially around how the key learning can inform future support and safeguarding. There have been positive reports on how well the various virtual platforms have been used to engage and support young people and families during the lockdown. However, it has also been pointed out that direct one to one work remains crucial to safeguarding responses. Hearing from staff, children young people and parents around their experiences of the support and services during the lockdown will play a key role in how the virtual platforms continue to be used as the lockdown eases.   

NWG continue to undertake work with areas around further developing their responses to exploitation and adolescent safeguarding. The feedback has always been positive  and here is an example

Many thanks for forwarding this and also for the opportunity for us to spend  time reflecting on what others are doing around the country and the chance to outline our plans going forward and get informed feedback. The conversation has already been catalytic, triggering some rapid reflection and refinements to our plans for the next stage so again thanks for your input. ” Area Exploitation Lead.

On a regular basis NWG receive feedback on how useful it is to share practice, research resources and learning from across the country. In response to this we are aiming to have more virtual meetings and webinars in the coming months.  We are currently planning a webinar with Devon presenting their Adolescent Safety Framework (Safer Me). 

The exploitation and transition electronic network continue to operate. Thank you to Northumberland for sharing their exploitation strategy and operational plan that goes across children’s and adults’ services. Also thank you to Hampshire Adult Services for sharing their helpful response to sexual exploitation. We  continue to get requests to support areas with their response to exploitation and the transition into adulthood. 

NWG  are working with the Children’s Society on a Missing Benchmarking Tool to support service improvement in this area.   We are also developing some online harm reduction resources with the Marie Collins Foundation (MCF) and both the Professionals and Parent resources have been drafted.    

Work  around Supporting and Safeguarding- A College Perspective continues.  When the COVID 19 lockdown commenced the whole context around supporting and safeguarding changed for everyone including colleges. We are aiming to work with NAMMS (National Association for Managers of Student Services) to also include some key learning from this period and incorporate this work. The advice and guidance from the Chair of NAMMS Polly Harrow continues to be welcomed by the NWG.      

If anyone would like further information on this work, please contact Steve- [email protected]    

Sports and Activities – Kevin Murphy 

Two reviews which focus on best practice and the learning from safeguarding have been developed to distribute through Sports England. Currently we are working with the CPSU and the ACT to develop some key messages to help sport meet its responsibility with regard to safeguarding children. In additon we have planned for the delivery of a webinar with Dr Rachel Fenton from Exeter University regarding her Bystander Initiative, Dr Fenton was to be a keynote speaker at our postponed conference, following the webinar we will also be hosting an on line event similar for broader engagement.

If anyone would like further information on this work, please contact Kev- [email protected]   

Prevention and Disruption: Kay Wallace

Travelling around the country areas have reported a drop in CSE reports and a rise in exploitation reports and there is no apparent reason for the increase/decrease. This information is not COVID-19 related; this has been seen over a period of 12-18 months.
Here are some examples from across the country.  

Area 1– The exploitation and missing lead reported that CSE figures have decreased, whilst criminal exploitation (Fraud and serious youth violence has increased). 

Area 2- reported that  Pre COVID-19, CSE reports were declining, during lock-down there has been a report from one area in the borough that CSE referrals had increased, this may be online CSE as opposed to contact abuse, which hasn’t been seen by the area lead for exploitation. There now needs to be preparation for recovery from lock-down, as potentially increased online activity has taken place where perpetrators have engaged and groomed children and once lock-down is released physical meeting may happen and therefore a spike in contact offences could occur. 

Area 3- The current statistical picture has changed dramatically over the last 12 months, the number of children and young people with a CE assessment has increased, also the number of boys who have had CE assessments undertaken has risen steeply.  This is due to historically the partnership only assessing and recording sexual exploitation and this figure now includes criminal exploitation.  As a partnership the area is clear that exploitation takes many forms and both boys and girls are vulnerable to its different guises, previous local statistics measuring CSE indicated that 95%-100% of the children with an assessment of medium risk or above were girls with occasionally one or two boys falling into this group at any one time, however given that the area is now viewing CE as whole and the recording includes criminal exploitation these numbers have changed markedly. 

Area 4Exploitation charity reported a significant drop in CSE ‘It feels like CSE has from off the radar’. This is evidenced through MACE meetings and panel meetings where CSE hardly ever features.  

Area 5 – Safeguarding Partnership representative also reported a drop in the number of CSE figures, approx. 2/3rd less, this is currently being reviewed as to what the decrease could mean, is CSE moving to an online space? Is it a flagging issue? are practitioners focussing on CE and missing CSE? 

These are just five areas I re-contacted, but NWG representatives were consistently told by area leads across the country when personal (and virtual visits during the COVID-19 period) were made, that CSE referral rates appeared to be declining and the reason(s) why this is happening warrants further review. 

Only two areas reported not having the same decrease in CSE figures, but they have both worked hard to keep CSE safely positioned in the exploitation agenda.
            

If anyone would like further information on this work, please contact Kay –  [email protected]   

Training: Sarah Brown

All training, forums and events have now been rescheduled and all attendees that had purchased tickets have been either transferred to new dates or had refunds where dates have not been set. 

The next scheduled training is due to take place early September. We will continue to risk assess and listen to government guidance before making any decisions regarding if we should pick up training again in September. 

The Network: Cheryl Stevens

Membership:

We continue to offer weekly remote surgeries to our members:

The NWG holds surgeries with network members to assist in problem solving issues they face around the exploitation of children and adults .

The surgery also allows an opportunity for areas, teams, individuals and organisations to share learning and practice. The sharing of practice and strategies via the surgeries, enables learning to be shared on the wider NWG platform.

This offer of support has been extended for this period of ‘lock-down’ due to an increased demand for our services and support – whereby the team can assist with ‘surgery queries’ on a remote basis on a more regular weekly basis. These queries may range from operational case enquiries to more strategic advice.

The team can respond remotely to enquiries on a case by case basis, continuing to provide the service that front-line and strategic professionals require from us.

This support may include practice examples and resources which have been collated from across a range of services detailing creative and innovative safeguarding interventions being implemented during this challenging time.

The team can also highlight national emerging themes in preparation for a proactive safeguarding response following ‘lockdown’ and discuss ‘recovery’ strategies.

Various electronic communication methods are being utilised by the team to ensure we remain engaged with our members and safeguarding partners, in order to continue providing a support service, including gathering and sharing relevant and up to date information from a range of sources.

If you would like to book an appointment with members of the Response Unit for the surgery please contact [email protected] with a brief description of your query so we can assign the most relevant team member(s) to your appointment.

We will undertake these surgery appointments via Microsoft Teams, wherever possible, although other communication methods can be made available to you.

Once we have received your request, we will invite you to a scheduled meeting with relevant members of our team at a specific time agreed between us.

Please see below for dates of upcoming surgeries (bookings now open for all dates):

Tuesday 23rd June 2020

Tuesday 30th June 2020

Wednesday 8th July 2020

Wednesday 15th July 2020

Tuesday 21st July 2020

Monday 27th July 2020

Wednesday 5th August 2020

For further information on the NWG please visit our website www.nwgnetwork.org

Details of surgeries and other events https://www.nwgnetwork.org/events/

Details of NWG Response Unit specific roles https://www.nwgnetwork.org/meet-the-team/

The introduction of a trial membership running until the end of July has been launched offering individuals the opportunity to access all the benefits of a Gold membership – to take advantage please follow the below steps:

To join please click on the ‘Login Icon’ in the header of the website https://www.nwgnetwork.org/:


Go to :‘Create a New Account’.
Then ‘Register For an Account’ – select Individual (note that only personal email addresses are permitted on individual accounts)
Fill in your details and create a password.

In the Company/Product Description’ area please can you start the message with the code: COVID-19  (without this code we will not be able to activate your membership)

  • Select ‘Individual – £25 per year’ and “phone’ for payment type then ‘Register’ (Please note that you won’t be charged for signing up and we will send you a note at the end of July to ask if you would like to continue – we won’t automatically charge you).

Once your application shows in our system we will activate the account

Please note that this is an individual membership and login details and passwords must not be shared as per our membership T’s & C’s

 ‘Supporting and Safeguarding exploited people in the context of COVID 19 lockdown and beyond’ 

During COVID-19 lockdown, we have been working closely with our colleagues across all statutory and voluntary agencies.  The soft intelligence and emerging trends and challenges that you each face in your day-to-day work have been collated and shared to ensure they are being considered in strategic and operational developments to manage the threat of exploitation in these unprecedented times.   

This sharing of practice in these exceptional times has been crucial.  It has also given us the opportunity to share concerns, challenges, and innovative engagement methods with our colleagues in central government to assist in their understanding of the national picture as it has developed. 

Many of you have been involved in this gathering and sharing of practice exercise and it has been so encouraging to hear about the innovative methods being used to provide a service to young people and their families during the lockdown. It would be great if we could share your work with others to promote a conversation about effective interventions during lockdown and recovery planning following staged easing of restrictions. 

We invited a few areas to contribute in our Zoom event on Friday 22nd May to hear from Dr Warren Larkin – ‘An overview of adversity and trauma during the lockdown’ and an outline from our team regarding the key themes that have emerged from the conversations with you all over the last few weeks. 

We then facilitated a discussion on the following two key areas: 

  1. What has been the learning from your responses to the challenges presented in safeguarding exploited young people and their families in the context of COVID- 19?
  2. What identified areas of practice are you aiming to continue using to recover from and reform your services/practices following the lockdown to enhance your responses to young people, families, and staff?

To ensure the key messages and learning are collated and made available to share with our members across our network, we have summarised the conversations. 

The link to the report and the podcast features the presentation By Dr Warren Larkin is https://www.nwgnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Covid-19-Report-2020.pdf 

 If anyone would like further information please contact Cheryl- [email protected]