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

Therefore, children’s social care practitioners, child protection systems and wider safeguarding partnerships need to engage with individuals and sectors who do have influence over/within extra-familial contexts, and recognise that assessment of, and intervention with, these spaces are a critical part of safeguarding practices. Contextual Safeguarding, therefore, expands the objectives of child protection systems in recognition that young people are vulnerable to abuse beyond their front doors.

The Contextual Safeguarding Network brings together practitioners, nationally and internationally, to share and generate knowledge on contextual approaches to safeguarding young people from violence and abuse. This website principally provides a place for practitioners to share ideas via blogs, podcasts and case studies. It is also the place where the Contextual Safeguarding research team share key messages emerging from their research projects in the format of practice guides, policy and practice toolkits and research briefings.

Membership to the Contextual Safeguarding Network is free.  The CS Network offers a suite of evidenced-informed resources and practical tools for working with young people and communities experiencing or at risk of extra familiar harm.  If you’d like to become a member of the CS Network, please visit:

The approach is currently being developed by Dr Carlene Firmin and the Contextual Safeguarding Research team from the University of Bedfordshire.