Safeguarding Sussex Week: Sexual Abuse

This year’s Learning Together week runs from Monday 27 November -Friday 1 December 2017 and there will be a variety of events to spotlight and debate some of the most important issues in our city which affect individuals, their families and the wider community. This year the Safeguarding Week is being held in conjunction with our partners from East & West Sussex as well as Brighton & Hove Safeguarding Adults Board and the Safe in the City Partnership Board

You can view the Brighton & Hove programme here and the face to face events will provide a space for professionals to explore their responsibilities in their everyday work, and reflect on their contribution to keeping people safe and well.

If you cannot attend one of our events you may wish to make some time to complete some eLearning to increase your safeguarding knowledge, or you may want to use one of our Practice Point Scenarios to start discussion in your team meetings, or reflect on the implications for your practice after reading our Briefing for Staff: W&X SCR. 

Throughout the week we will be circulating a series of bite-sized bulletins to give you an appetite for different safeguarding themes, and point you in the direction for further information. Look out for them in your inbox, and follow the week on social media #SafeguardingSussex

Child Sexual Abuse

Sexual harm and violence towards children has a devastating impact on children, young people and their families and the LSCB remains committed to making sure that we get it right and provide our children with the protection and support they may need. It remains one of the key priority areas of the LSCB Business Plan and for our partners.

Less than 4% of children on Child Protection Plans in 2016-17 had sexual abuse recorded as a primary concern, yet we know that this is a much wider issue. Children & young people find it particularly difficult to talk about this kind of abuse, and nationally it is significantly under reported. As professionals we will all be aware that it takes an enormous amount of trust and belief in an individual before a child would be willing to disclose their experiences.  All people working with children should be alert to the potential signs and indicators that a child may have suffered sexual abuse, often demonstrated by what may be considered inappropriate interaction with their peers, family and siblings, and we run workshops on Harmful Sexual Behaviours each year and this is further explored in our other training.

Last month we held a Practice Update Day with Sussex Police, and Social Workers from across Sussex, for those staff trained in Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interviews, One of the most important messages from this day was a reminder to avoid further conversations with a child who has made a disclosure before the ABE interview is conducted. The detail of the disclosure can be obtained from the professional, who should recall the conversation in as much detail as possible in their records. This will avoid the unnecessary request for the child to keep repeating their disclosure.

LSCB strategic aims: 

A multi-agency working group is currently developing a Child Sexual Abuse Strategy for Brighton & Hove, which will be published in the new year. The following strategies specifically concentrate on sexual exploitation of children & young people: Pan Sussex CSE Strategy and Brighton & Hove CSE strategy. Our strategies contain five strands to improve local practice and outcomes for children:

  • Strategic Commitment Across all Agencies
  • Identification – Improve Awareness, Understanding & Recognition
  • Prevention – Communication
  • Protection – Improve Effectiveness of Interventions – Support for Victims and Families
  • Disruption – Improve the prosecution of perpetrators

Multi-agency training: 

We run courses for all staff working with children & families in Brighton & Hove to raise awareness of sexual abuse and help professionals respond to and support children:

The Safe in the City Partnership also run a series of sessions on Harmful Practices, as well as training for professionals working with adult victims of sexual abuse. See their full programme here

Further Reading

If you have concerns about a child contact the Front Door for Families on 01273 290400