A LAVERSTOCK school is part of a pilot scheme to help young people at risk of becoming victims of exploitation or harm outside of the home.

Wiltshire Council has worked with ten schools including four in the county, including St Joseph's Catholic School, to identify and respond to harm young people experience within education environments and also their communities. The scheme called Safer Young People has been trialled in a number of schools.

The work involves supporting schools to evaluate how they respond to child exploitation or peer-on-peer abuse.

Andy Bazen, of St Joseph’s Catholic School said: “We were delighted to be selected to be a part of this pilot. We have already found that it has increased staff understanding, vigilance and reporting. Being a part of the pilot has highlighted to all of us the severity and serious nature of Extra Familial Harm.

"The benefits of professionals working together to share good practice, as well as build a far greater context about individuals and their circumstances is vital to prevent harm or harm escalating. Developing future practices and networking will further embed that safeguarding is everyone's responsibility and we look forward to seeing this having a positive impact on the safeguarding of young people.

"We feel that being part of the pilot has helped us to reflect, review and refine practices, and will ensure that we continue to provide the best safeguarding possible for our young people.”

Wiltshire Council has been working with multi-agency partners on the pioneering work and with a team from the University of Durham and the University of Bedfordshire.

The council is leading another pilot which focuses on Child Protection and Risk Outside the Home.

Cllr Laura Mayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services added: “A young person today lives a very different life to just a few years ago and the way we offer child protection needs to change to keep up with the different experiences and factors which can affect a young child’s life. This is important pioneering work which we are doing alongside our partners and I want to thank our schools for being key to this and helping us to put into practices new ways of working which will ultimately provide better insight and protection for our young people.”

The work is carried out alongside partners including police, children’s services, health and community organisations.

Detective Superintendent Ben Mant, Head of Public Protection at Wiltshire Police, said: “We, along with our partners like Wiltshire Council, are committed to tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and the wider issue of Child Exploitation (CE).

“This crime is not something that just happens in the home - it can take place anywhere in our society – both in our physical world and the virtual cyber one. This is why a pilot scheme like this one is very welcome."


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