Launch of the Contextual Safeguarding Audit Toolkit

This week Dr Jenny Lloyd introduces a new resource available for local areas to understand and develop responses to peer-on-peer abuse. 

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Contextual Safeguarding Audit Toolkit. The toolkit will support local areas to understand and evaluate their own responses to peer-on-peer abuse and inform the development of contextually informed and holistic approaches to safeguarding. This interactive toolkit is free to use and has everything a site would need to carry out their own audit including videos, tutorials, audio content and resources.

Since 2013 the University of Bedfordshire, as part of the MsUnderstood Partnership (MSU), has been supporting the development of local responses to peer-on-peer abuse using Carlene Firmin’s approach to contextual safeguarding. In partnership with local sites, practitioners and young people, MSU have developed a variety of resources and tools that address the contextual and holistic nature of peer-on-peer abuse. The Contextual Safeguarding Audit Toolkit has been created so that multi-agency partnerships can audit and evaluate their own responses to peer-on-peer abuse and develop action plans to implement change.

While manifesting in multiple ways, peer-on-peer abuse relates to violence and abuse that occurs within young people’s friendships and relationships. In recent years research has shown that for many young people, their experiences of exploitation and abuse are often instigated, facilitated and or perpetrated by peers. In light of research in this area, practitioners, researchers and policy makers have become increasingly concerned with identifying how to respond to peer-on-peer abuse and developing responses that recognise both the different forms this abuse takes, and the contexts in which it occurs.

Our research has shown that while agencies may be equipped to respond to different forms of abuse, these approaches are often distinct and separate from one another. In addition responses to abuse in many places have often been developed as a result of abuse with adult perpetrators or with interventions focused on individuals rather than the contexts and places that abuse happens. What audits allow you to do is recognise the strengths of the approaches you already use and develop these to integrate collaborative and creative approaches to peer-on-peer abuse.

In the toolkit you will find all the training resources and documents needed to carry out each section of the audit. There is an illustrated video on how to observe practitioner meetings including blank observation templates, an expert interview on carrying out focus groups with young people and the ethics involved, and a handy checklist to complete as you go through each stage. All the resources are free to use and can be adapted to suit the needs of different sites and agencies.

We hope that this toolkit will be a helpful resource for anyone wanting to carry out their own audit. Please get in touch with if you are interested in using the toolkit or if you have any questions.