We have an exciting range of keynote speakers from within and outside the child protection field. Each of these will offer a unique perspective on safeguarding children and how we can learn from different disciplines.
Kish Bhatti-Sinclair, Reader in Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Chichester
Kish Bhatti-Sinclair is well known for her work on social work, race and racism. This includes research on the importance of border controls and information technology in the countries of the European Union, globalisation in relation to social work values and inter-professional working in a culturally appropriate way. Kish has shown a particular interest in research methodologies sensitive to the needs of black and minority ethnic (BME) populations. Kish has worked on a number of research projects evaluating social work practice and used theories such as modern racism to test discriminatory attitudes and behaviours.
In relation to children and young people Kish has researched case data from the USA and the UK which has led to publications on the challenges of placing children in care. Kish has reported on projects evaluating initiatives on troubled families and analysed case data on BME children in care. This has led to a number of reports which have questioned professional understanding of cultural imperatives and beliefs, responses to child abuse by minority ethnic communities, cultural racism, anti-muslim racism and Islamophobia.
Kish’s book projects include: Anti-Racist Practice in Social Work (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) which examines attitudes and behaviours in relation to law, policy and practice on race equality. Two further book projects are under way: Diversity, Difference and Dilemmas (OUP/McGraw Hill, 2017) examines, for example, the disproportionate attention paid to immigrants and terrorists in populist policy and media reporting. CSE in Multi-Racial Britain (The Policy Press, 2018) offers insights into the complex challenges facing professionals working with hard to reach children and young people who are endangered through commercial and sexual exploitation by perpetrators, gangs and networks.
“Prejudice, discrimination and unconscious bias: is it time to rethink our approaches to the victims and perpetrators of child sexual exploitation?”
Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) are often portrayed in popular media and some Government reports as working class, sexualised beings who are hard to reach and difficult to engage. Social workers and police officers are not pursuing cases for fear of being accused of racism. There is a disproportionate reporting of Muslim men as sexual predators. CSE is increasingly being located in areas with high Muslim populations. The link between the exploitation of (mainly) young, white women victims to (mainly) Muslim men is adding to the fear, distrust and general anxiety about external threats such as immigration and terrorism.
Professional anxieties about the ethnicity of CSE suspects and political correctness may be impinging systematic action by child protection agencies. Simplistic profiling of perpetrators and lack of professional curiosity may be curtailing understanding of children’s rights, self-direction and the limits and realities of sexual activity. Complex grooming processes, cross agency intelligence and criminal proceedings against perpetrators are not being examined and pursued systematically.
Further research is needed on victims who are part of the night economy and BME girls who may be less visible, more vulnerable and overly controlled by parental figures. Young men are also being sexually exploited but often assumed to be gay. There is little evidence to support this, however, gay, bisexual and transpectrum young men may be accessing social venues known to perpetrators and may be involved in activities which increase contact with gangs and criminality.
In conclusion, CSE cases require critical analysis and balanced reporting in order that selected groups are not scapegoated and held responsible for a problem found amongst all groups.
Daniel Rhind, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Brunel University
Dr Daniel Rhind is a Chartered Psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society. He has worked as a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Brunel University, London since obtaining his PhD from Loughborough University in 2008. Daniel leads the Brunel International Research Network for Athlete Welfare (BIRNAW). He is a member of the CPSU’s Research Evidence and Advisory Group and is on the Sport Safeguarding Children Initiative Working Group. He was also a member of the BASES Expert Group who developed training on child protection for sport scientists.
Daniel’s research focuses on understanding the development and maintenance of (un)healthy and (in)effective relationships in sport. This relates to all key stakeholders including athletes/players, coaches, referees and parents. This research informs policy and practice to promote the welfare of everyone and safeguard people with additional vulnerability in sport. Daniel’s research has been funded by a range of organisations including the European Commission, Commonwealth Secretariat, Oak Foundation, the Daiwa Foundation, International Inspiration, the Football Association, the Rugby Football Union, the International Tennis Federation and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. His most recent research was the foundation of the recently launched International Safeguards for Children in Sport.
“Safeguarding in, around and through sport”
The importance of safeguarding children and young people within organizations has been repeatedly demonstrated in a range of recent high profile media stories. These organizations cover a variety of different contexts such as schools, churches, hospitals, and care homes. Although sport can provide significant physical, social and psychological benefits for children, research evidence over the past 20 years has demonstrated that sport can also be a context in which children can be subjected to different forms of abuse.
This presentation will consider safeguarding in, around and through sport. Safeguarding ‘in’ sport concerns the prevalence of the different forms of abuse along with the factors which may make children more vulnerable to abuse. Safeguarding ‘around’ sport will be discussed with reference to research on how mega sports events can impact children. Safeguarding ‘through’ sport concerns how participation can help to safeguard children beyond the context of sport.
Over the past 5 years, a working group has developed and piloted the International Safeguards for Children in Sport. The International Safeguards set out the actions that all organizations working in sport should have in place to ensure children are safe from abuse. The presentation will outline the development, implementation and evaluation of these International Safeguards. The CHILDREN Pillars (i.e., Cultural sensitivity, Holistic, Incentives, Leadership, Dynamic, Resources, Engaging stakeholders and Networks) which have been found to under-pin an effective safeguarding system in sport will then be discussed.
Paul Edmondson, Head of Research and Knowledge, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Paul Edmondson is Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He is the author, co-author, and co-editor of many books and articles about Shakespeare, including: The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography (with Stanley Wells for Cambridge University Press, 2015), Shakespeare’s Creative Legacies (with Peter Holbrook, The Arden Shakespeare, 2016); and Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: an archaeological biography (with Kevin Colls and William Mitchell, Manchester University Press, 2016). His Shakespeare: Ideas in Profile (Profile Books, 2015) is an overview of Shakespeare for the general reader. He has published work on the Sonnets, the musicality of Shakespeare’s words, the poetry of Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare’s influence on the Brontës, and writes theatre and book reviews. He is Chair of the Hosking Houses Trust for women writers, a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association, an Honorary Fellow at the University of Birmingham, and a priest in the Church of England. He has lived and worked in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1995.
“Shakespeare’s dysfunctional families”
‘King Lear’, ‘Hamlet’, ‘As You Like It’, ‘The Winter’s Tale’: Shakespeare consistently bodies forth family life as dysfunctional, broken, often violent. In this keynote address, Paul Edmondson, Head of Research for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, considers some of the portrayals of dysfunctional families in Shakespeare’s plays, relevant aspects of Shakespeare’s own life, and considers why this theme seems especially appropriate to our own times.
Anne Fine, Author
Anne Fine is a distinguished writer for both adults and children who has twice won both of Britain’s most coveted awards for children’s literature, the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread (now Costa) Award, along with a Guardian Award, two Smarties/Nestle Awards, and many other national, regional and international prizes. Anne is known for writing, with sensitivity and often with humour, on many serious subjects that affect the lives of young readers. Anne is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been awarded an OBE. Her work has been translated into forty five languages.
“Pebbles in the fairy tale: what can child protection learn from children’s literature?”
Literature has always been the most accessible instrument we have for ethical enquiry and the clearest way to answer Socrates’ great question, “How ought we to live?” But all too often the child’s need for a means to interpret their own experience of childhood is ignored. A young person who cannot bear even to begin to think about his or her own unhappy and stressed situation can often begin, safely, to explore the problems they face through fiction – somebody else’s problem. Anne Fine will show how books can offer shafts of light and comfort to the troubled child, and also foster self-scrutiny – not just in the young reader him or herself, but also in the (often overly self-protective) adults who deal with them. Anne will show what these fictional avenues of vicarious experience can mean to young readers, what insights they can bring, and what a comfort they can be. She will try to show how the tolerance and understanding offered by particular novels can offer the twenty first century equivalent of the pebbles in the fairy tale, gleaming in the moonlight and showing the way out of the dark forest.
Irene Stevens, Independent Child Care Consultant
Dr Irene Stevens was a residential child care worker and manager, and a social care educator from 1984-2000. She then worked at the Scottish Centre of Excellence for Residential Child Care based at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, from 2000-2011, where she carried out training, research and evaluations in residential child care. Since 2011, she has been an independent child care consultant carrying out research and training both nationally and internationally. She has published on the topic of Complexity Theory since 2007 and has presented on the topic of risk and complexity at national and international conferences.
“Child protection at the edge of chaos”
The protection of children takes place in a dynamic and, at times, fast moving environments. Yet many of the models which are used in risk management and decision making are based on linear assumptions. While this has been challenged, particularly in the Munro Review, there may be resistance to thinking outside the usual linear box. I will present some key ideas from complexity theory and explore how the development of a ‘Complexity Imagination’ among those who work with children can contribute to better outcomes for children and staff. The key concepts among others to be explored and related to child protection are bifurcation, emergence, self-organising criticality, dissipative structures and non-linear conceptualisation of issues.
Complexity Theory, by its very nature addresses life at ‘the edge of chaos’ in dynamic systems. This is at the very crux of decision making in practice. In order to protect children, we need to think outside the box. Concepts from Complexity Theory can add to the toolkit used by practitioners by raising questions about the nature of risk and how we, as human beings, deal with this. By developing some of the concepts from Complexity Theory and exploring how they can be put into practice, staff and organisations may be much better prepared to contribute to the protection of children.
Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals
“The role of the justice system in the safeguarding of children”