Risk Outside The Home: Assessment

Last week the NSCP delivered sessions on Assessing Risks Outside The Home. We covered a lot of information relating to different tools that can support practitioners undertaking assessments that are contextually informed and reflective of the risks outside the home. Please see below for further details about the tools and resources we highlighted and click on the hyperlinks (I had intended to share direct links to the Contextual Safeguarding Networks website, but unfortunately it has been inaccessible for the last few days).

Professional Mapping Exercise: It can be helpful for professionals to build a better understanding of the communities that they work in. One suggestion is to print off a map of the area and start mapping out your knowledge of the area in terms of its strength and potential sources of harm. This may help us understand the gaps in our knowledge about specific areas and encourage us to reach out to other partners, young people and families to build insights that can inform assessments, plans and interventions. Please see page 5 of the Safety Mapping Document.

Assessment Triangle: Most people are familiar with the Assessment Triangle that features within the Working Together to Safeguard Children documents, and the Assessment Diamond used in Newcastle. The Contextual Safeguarding Network have produced specific assessment triangles focused on different contexts: School, Neighbourhood and Peer Group.

Peer Mapping Exercise: Understanding the peer groups that young people are part of or affected by is crucial to understanding their safety and risk of harm in the community. Mapping out how groups of young people relate to one other, the dynamics at play and how different young people are involved is crucial to building contextually informed assessments.

Community/Safety Mapping Exercise: This is an exercise that practitioners can do with young people to understand their experiences in the community and their perceptions of risk. It involves using a map of the local area that young people spend time in and mapping out key locations and routes that they use (home, school, parks, shopping centres, paths, bus routes…) and colour coding these areas by how safe young people in them. Red indicates areas they do not consider themselves safe, Amber represents spaces where they are reasonably safe but might have some concerns, and Green represent areas in which they feel safe. This can help professionals better understand the nature of the risks young people face, where interventions need to be focused and what needs to happen immediately to reduce risks and promote safety.