Key Points
  • Additional risks, signs, and indicators of abuse to disabled children and young people
  • The need for early help and interventions to prevent later harm
  • Understanding challenging behaviour as a form of communication
  • Risks, challenges and opportunities of multi-agency practice
  • Healthy relationships and good practice to reduce risks of sexual exploitation and domestic abuse
  • The importance of practice which grows resilience and develops social and emotional wellbeing
  • Specific needs, issues and challenges for deaf children and young people
  • Gathering effective data to support service design and delivery
  • Adopting a child-centred, whole life, whole family approach
  • Translating messages from research into good practice
Guest of Honour

Sarah Goff Development Manager, Ann Craft Trust and Co-Chair, National Working Group on Safeguarding Disabled Children (NWGSDC)

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Research has found the disabled children are three to four times more likely to be abused and neglected than non-disabled children. Yet too often the safeguarding needs of this vulnerable group are not prioritised or incorporated into safeguarding strategies and practice.

Deaf and disabled children and young people may find it difficult to know how they can express concerns about their welfare and may not even know that the care they are receiving is not safe or appropriate. Practitioners may lack skills and knowledge to identify harm, or to support young people to communicate what they are experiencing. Some young people may not have diagnoses and this may lead to not getting the right services or not being seen as in need at all. Some teenagers are picked up in the criminal justice system when if their behaviour had been understood earlier, they may have received more appropriate help.

This forum will address the challenges to be addressed at strategic, management and practice level. You will also learn how to support all children by helping them to develop their communication skills and express their emotions.

As local areas develop and embed the new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, attend this forum to explore how the safeguarding needs of deaf and disabled children and young people in your community can be more successfully met.

Forum presenters:

The forum will be led by Sarah Goff, Development Manager, Ann Craft Trust and Co-Chair, National Working Group on Safeguarding Disabled Children (NWGSDC) and Chris Mullen, Social Care Policy Advisor from the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Who should attend:

This forum is essential for anyone who works with children and young people who may be deaf or may have diagnosed or undiagnosed disabilities in any organisation, business or charity including:

This may include:

  • Those working with younger children as well as teens and young people up to 25
  • Police and criminal justice sectors
  • Education (both mainstream and special education)
  • Safeguarding leads
  • Health and social care
  • Mental health
  • Adult workers who need to understand child protection
  • Those working in advocacy organisations

  • Agenda

    08:30 - 09:00
    Registration, Coffee and Networking


    09:00 - 09:20
    Safeguarding Deaf and Disabled Children and Young People – An Overview

    Latest research and best practice         
    The legal and policy framework

    Impact of funding cuts and safeguarding reforms on practice

    09:20 - 09:40
    How Can We Better Protect Disabled Children and Young People?

    Translating Messages from Research into Good Practice

    Research tells us that disabled children have additional vulnerabilities and are at greater risk from abuse.
    How can we utilise these findings to improve practice and outcomes for disabled children and their families?

    09:40 - 09:50
    Questions and Discussion


    09:50 - 10:20
    Keeping Deaf and Disabled Young People Safe

    The key challenges and additional risks including:
    - Invisibility in the system
    - The need for early help and all ages sensory services
    - Rights of deaf and disabled young people and their families 

    Christopher will also share examples of good practice of services and support to help protect deaf children from abuse and harm.


    Christopher Mullen Social Care Policy Advisor

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    10:20 - 10:50
    Protecting Disabled Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

    - Understanding relationships, sexual and emotional needs of disabled young people
    - Unpicking stereotypes and issues around choice and consent
    - Prevention/good practice – building awareness in young people of how to stay safe
    - Additional risks of sexual exploitation – both on and offline

    10:50 - 11:00
    Questions and Discussion


    11:00 - 11:30
    Tea and Coffee


    11:30 - 12:00
    Adopting a Child-Centred, Whole Life, Whole Family Approach

    - Issues around transition - safeguarding disabled young people through childhood into adulthood
    - Empowering disabled young people and growing resilience
    - Promoting rights of disabled children and young people
    - Understanding the needs of siblings and carers
    Practical communication tools and strategies

    12:00 - 12:30
    Risks, Challenges and Opportunities of Multi-Agency Practice

    - Planning multi-agency working   
    - What does good multi-agency practice look like?

    - Embedding the safeguarding reforms – an opportunity to drive the local agenda of safeguarding disabled children?

    12:40 - 13:00
    Panel Discussion – Reflections on the Morning Session, Take Away Tips and Planning Next Steps


    13:00 - 00:00
    Forum Ends




    Sarah Goff Development Manager, Ann Craft Trust and Co-Chair, National Working Group on Safeguarding Disabled Children (NWGSDC)

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    Christopher Mullen Social Care Policy Advisor

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    Venue details

    Zone 1 Central London

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