Posted March 28, 2024



East Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership Monthly Digest – March 2024

This latest roundup of ESSCP news includes highlights from recent publications, information about forthcoming events and training, and other snippets of useful information from across the ESSCP and partner agencies. If you have anything that you would like included in next month’s ESSCP digest, please email

Harmful Sexual Behaviour

Harmful sexual behaviour is an umbrella term defined as “sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years old that are developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful towards self or others, or be abusive towards another child, young person or adult” (definition used by NSPCC Operational Framework, derived from Hackett, 2014). It is estimated that a third of all child sexual abuse in the UK is initiated by other children and adolescents (Hackett, 2016).

The ESSCP are delivering a multi-agency briefing to support professionals to know how to assess whether the sexual behaviour displayed by a child or young person is developmentally normal, inappropriate/problematic or abusive/violent (harmful). To book a place on this briefing please use the following link: Voluntary and Community Sector | East Sussex County Council

Children’s mental health webinars for parents and carers


A series of online videos to help parents and carers support their children to manage a wide range of mental health conditions are now available. Thousands of parents and carers across Sussex have benefited from the eight webinars that have already taken place. The videos are a vital resource which can be accessed any time you need extra support.

The live webinars focus on anxiety, autism, eating disorders and sleep, and are available to access via the Sussex Partnership website: Children’s mental health webinars.

SAFER Safeguarding Pathway operational instructions

Since January, there has been a change to how safeguarding and case planning for some children – that are at risk from criminal exploitation – is best met through SAFER planning and intervention. Child protection processes are often not suited to reducing risk for children that require disruption activities.

The SAFER safeguarding pathway is an alternative route for these children. More information can be found in the Safeguarding Adolescents from Exploitation and Risk (SAFER) operational instructions which sets out in detail: Identification – Strategy Discussion and s.47 enquiries; Consultation with CPA/IRO – new case note type SAFER CPA/IRO decision; Referral to SAFER; and case management.

Right Care Right Person roll out in Sussex

Right Care Right Person is launching in Sussex in April. The programme will help the police decide when they should be involved in responding to incidents, and when they believe health or social care services are better placed to respond instead. Police will still attend incidents where there’s an immediate risk to life, a risk to the wider public, or a need for police to support partners agencies.

Police forces are working closely with health and social care partners to plan and implement Right Care, Right Person. A national toolkit, operational guidance and an e-learning package has been developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing. It will support police forces in implementing Right Care, Right Person. More information can be found here: National Partnership Agreement: Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) – GOV.UK (

Non-accidental injuries

The ESSCP would like to remind all practitioners of the protocol when dealing with unexplained marks or bruising on children. Please remember that:

  • Non-mobile babies with unexplained marks, bruises & injuries require an immediate referral to children’s social care (CSC): East Sussex – Single Point of Advice ( SPOA) – Report a concern about a child or a teenager
  • Non-accidental injuries do not always present with typical bruises.
  • CSC/Police should be arranging an urgent (same day) strategy discussion with a hospital paediatrician.
  • Non-mobile babies with unexplained skin marks require an urgent/same day/night medical examination by a paediatrician.
  • Infancy is the riskiest time of life for a child, with the risk of death or serious injury from Non-Accidental Injury (NAI) , Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI) and infectious diseases being common causes.

For reference the guidance and protocols for bruising/marks on children can be found on the Pan-Sussex Policies and Procedures Website –  Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures Manual – Unexplained injuries to young children.

ESSCP Learning Events

In January, the ESSCP held two learning events: one on multi-agency safeguarding and domestic abuse (23 January); and a further one on responding to suspected child suicides (30 January). Both events were really well attended and generated lots of useful discussion. The presentations from both events are available also available on the restricted area of the ESSCP website. Additional resources (restricted) – ESSCP (password is ESSCPAR123)

SPOA Presentation dates for 2024

SPOA has released 2024 dates for their SPOA presentation, via MS Teams. The presentation covers what SPOA is, the continuum of need, what makes a good referral, and there is the opportunity for questions. For more details check out our website:

ESSCP training and learning opportunities

There is still time to book for a number of ESSCP virtual and classroom training opportunities. Latest courses include Trauma-informed approaches to working with families in a multi-professional context (classroom 23.04.24), Abuse linked to witchcraft and accusations of spirit posession (virtual 07.05.24), and suicide awareness – working with families with children up to age 16 (virtual 15.05.24). More information on the latest ESSCP courses can be found by viewing


Do you work with families that struggle with communication? Do you work with separated parents who put the children in the middle of their disagreements? The ESSCP is offering anyone who comes into regular contact with families, to explore, and support those experiencing destructive conflict and reduce this potential negative impact. More information can be found here: Reducing Parental Conflict Training – ESSCP

Other multi-agency courses can be found on the Multiagency Safeguarding Training | East Sussex County Council webpage and include:

  • An introduction to Cyber Choices
  • The NWG Explolation and Police and Justice Forum runs quarterly. The focus of each session will be to consider current challenges, themes and trends in respect to Child Exploitation. This quarter’s Forum will discuss the topic of Disruption and how effective partnership collaboration can safeguard children from exploitation.  To book a place click: NWG Police and Justice Forum Tickets, Mon 15 Apr 2024 at 14:00 | Eventbrite
  • Safer sleep for babies and coping with a crying baby – what everyone needs to know. More information including dates and how to book
  • Can you see me? Inspiring change by breaking down the shame of harmful practices – Crimestoppers, the Pan Sussex Harmful Practices Group & partners are delighted to announce this online learning drop in day event. This event features a multitude of highly trained, experienced, and grass roots level practitioners who will be sharing their expertise in identifying concerns and providing support to survivors of these practices. More information including dates and how to book

Local briefings and newsletters

·         The East Sussex Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence/Abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls Team has produced their March information round up. This contains latest news from the sector, events, policy and legislative updates, funding opportunities, research and resources, local service information and job opportunities.

·         The Pan Sussex Policy and Procedures Subgroup has published their latest January Briefing detailing latest changes to the Pan Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures Manual. This includes changes around safeguarding children who are absent from school, male circumcision, and supporting families experience hate incidents, crimes and harassment.

·         NHS Sussex produce a monthly ‘Safeguarding and Looked-After Children Newsletter’. All newsletter articles are accessible on the NHS Sussex intranet and all Sussex professionals can request access. If you have not already registered, the please use the following link: Log in (

·         ESCC has published their latest Family Focus e-bulletin (March 2024). The December newsletter includes information about childcare choices, mental health resources from Anna Freud, elective home education resources, and cost of living information to support families.

·         The East Sussex Safeguarding Adult Board has published their monthly news bulletin: March edition

·         The Pan Sussex Child Death Review Partners (CDRP) have published their latest quarterly newsletter. In this edition there learning from recent child deaths, guidance for identifying modifiable factors, and details of lunch and learn training. The newsletter can be accessed on the ‘Additional Resources’ area of the ESSCP website (password ESSCPAR123).

·         Please see the following link for information about the Life Transitions Service delivered by ESCC, to prepare for their future life and transitions including bereavement and becoming a carer: Life Transitions Service – East Sussex 1Space

National Updates

The National Child Safeguarding Panel has published their annual report. This is the fourth annual report from the independent Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. It looks at the child safeguarding system, based on serious child safeguarding incidents occurring between January 2022 and March 2023. Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel: annual report 2022 to 2023 – GOV.UK (

The UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) and Department for Science, Innovation and Technology have updated their non-statutory guidance for schools in England on responding to incidents involving the sharing of nude and semi-nude images. It is aimed at Designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) and senior leaders in educational settings in England. The document includes guidance on: risk assessing incidents; safeguarding and supporting children and young people; handling devices and imagery; recording incidents; and providing education on the sharing of nudes and semi-nudes. Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people – GOV.UK (

The All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood has published a new report on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the process of recovery for children affected by ACEs. The report discusses topics including: the identification and classification of ACEs; the impact of ACEs on the life course; risk factors; protection, intervention and mitigation against ACEs; social and economic inequality and the cycle of adversity; and the role of the Government. ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES: ROADS TO RECOVERY (

Ofcom has published three new research reports on online harms as part of their series on the protection of children online. The reports cover: understanding pathways to online violent content amongst children; experiences of children encountering online content promoting eating disorders, self harm and suicide; and key attributes and experiences of cyberbullying among children in the UK: Protection of children online, research – Ofcom

NSPCC Learning has published a briefing summarising learning from case reviews to support improved practice around assessments. Based on a sample of case reviews published between 2018 and 2023 where practice issues around assessments were a key factor,  learning includes: focus on the voice and needs of the child; involve all significant people in the child’s life; gather and share information across agencies and local areas; and critically evaluate any information collected. Assessments: learning from case reviews | NSPCC Learning

The Children’s Commissioner has published a report looking at child in need plans in England based on an analysis of published local authority procedures and Department for Education data. Key findings include: notable variations on what happens to different groups of children and between different local authorities in relation to children on child in need plans; and differences in local authority guidance, such as how long a child in need plan should be in place and when a plan should be reviewed. Recommendations include: consistent thresholds for assessment and support for children on child in need plans and strengthened national guidance for local authorities. Huge regional variation in support from children’s social services for some of England’s most vulnerable children   | Children’s Commissioner for England (

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