Signs of Safety® in England
The Signs of Safety model is a tool intended to help practitioners with risk assessment and safety planning in child protection cases.
Its purpose is to enable practitioners across different disciplines to work collaboratively and in partnership with families and children. The tools are designed to help conduct risk assessments and produce action plans for increasing safety, and to reduce risk and danger by identifying areas that need change while focusing on strengths, resources and networks that the family have.
Created by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards in Western Australia during the 1990s, Signs of Safety is now used in at least 12 different countries across Australasia, North America and Europe.
This report looks at the research literature and the experiences of practitioners who have used Signs of Safety in England. It explores what is known about the Signs of Safety model and its effectiveness. It looks at the theory, aims and method of the model and examines the research literature. Practitioners' experiences of using the approach in England are described through interviews. Finally the advantages and disadvantages of the approach are discussed.
This research was commissioned by the NSPCC.
Author: Amanda Bunn
- Practitioners described Signs of Safety as a useful framework for addressing the danger and harm factors in a case and clarifying the concerns, especially with more difficult cases and during periods of crisis. They felt that Signs of Safety helped to identify risk.
- Signs of Safety helped practitioners to be more specific about child protection issues, ensuring they described behaviours and frequencies rather than just saying the child had experienced 'neglect'. This was also thought to help practitioners think of families as individual families, each different, rather than just having a certain "type" of problem.
- Signs of Safety methods were thought to increase participation, co-operation and the engagement of parents/families.
- Parents liked focusing on strengths and not just problems.
- The approach helped parents to see things from the child's perspective.
- The tools gave younger children a voice and a say.
- Using Signs of Safety means that action and change was more likely to happen.
- There is limited evidence so far on whether Signs of Safety improves outcomes for children.
- Further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this model.
|Introduction outlining Signs of Safety and aims of the report||7|
|Chapter 1: Signs of Safety: the model||9|
|Chapter 2: Research Evidence on the Signs of Safety model and solution Focused Brief Therapy in Child Protection||45|
|Chapter 3: Findings from the NSPCC survey and interviews||75|
|Chapter 4: Discussion, implications and suggestions for research||107|
|Appendix 1: Notes about levels of usage Signs of Safety in England – 19 May 2011||130|
|Appendix 2: Geographical development of Signs of Safety (as of May 2011)||134|
|Appendix 3: Topic guide for interviews||136|
Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.
Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.
How safe are our children? conference 2017
How safe are our children? is the NSPCC’s annual flagship conference for everyone working in child protection.
We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.
New in the Library
A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.
Helping you keep children safe
Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.
Impact and evidence hub
Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.
Get expert training and consultancy
Sharing knowledge to keep children safe
Read our guide to NSPCC Knowledge and Information Services to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.