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Contextual Safeguarding

Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises the different relationships that young people form outside of the home environment, and the little influence Parents and carers can have over these, and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships.

As a critical part of safeguarding practices, Children’s social care practitioners, child protection systems and wider safeguarding partnerships need to engage with and assess the individuals and sectors who do have influence over/within extra-familial contexts and where necessary provide intervention. Contextual Safeguarding expands the objectives of child protection systems recognising that young people are vulnerable to abuse beyond their front doors.

This website provides an overview of the Contextual Safeguarding Research Programme, including its history, vision and mission, team, current suite of projects, and key publications.  To access the policy and practice resources created through this programme, and hear from practitioners and decision-makers who are using a Contextual Safeguarding approach in response to abuse in extra-familial settings please visit the virtual hub of the Contextual Safeguarding Practitioners’ Network on

The university of Bedfordshire has extensive resources and research available in relation to child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking.