16 and 17 year old young people at risk of homelessness
16. Safeguarding and child protection
Buckinghamshire Children’s Services have a responsibility to investigate any child protection concerns and take any necessary action. Staff should refer to “Working together to safeguard children” (DfE 2018) and Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership child protection procedures for full details.
If a young person’s situation or behaviour raises serious concerns about their safety, or the safety of other children and young people, keyworkers should make a child protection referral to the young person’s allocated social worker. This may be where the young person:
- is in a violent or abusive relationship
- may be being sexually exploited
- may have been trafficked or be a victim of modern slavery or exploitation
- is in contact with the perpetrator of suspected abuse
- is pregnant or is caring for their child and there are concerns for the (unborn) baby’s safety and welfare
- exhibits behaviour that puts them or others at serious risk
- goes missing and there are concerns for their welfare; staff should refer to the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership guidance on missing children
- is known to have committed offences against children
Some young people’s circumstances make them more vulnerable to harm and abuse and allocated social workers and housing key workers need to be aware of the following:
- Child sexual exploitation describes situations where a young person takes part in sexual activity in return for goods, food or accommodation. It normally takes place in the context of an exploitative relationship where there is a power imbalance between the young person and the perpetrator, for example a much older boyfriend, and where consent has not been freely given.
- Modern slavery and child trafficking are criminal offences involving holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring them to carry out forced or compulsory labour. It is also an offence to traffic people with a view to exploiting them. Modern slavery can include child sexual exploitation or the criminal exploitation of young people on the “county lines” model where young people are forced to carry drugs and weapons to other parts of the UK.
- Going missing can put young people at risk and can be an indicator the young person being involved in child sexual exploitation or trafficking. Social workers and key workers need to be aware of their role in carrying out risk assessments and reporting young people as missing under the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership missing children protocol.
- Some young people living in temporary accommodation may be at risk either because they are involved in gang activity or because they become a victim of gangs. Social workers and keyworkers need to be aware of any potential gang involvement and carry out risk assessments
For details of guidance on these safeguarding issues please visit the BSCP website: