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Risk Outside The Home (ROTH) adopting a Contextual Safeguarding approach in Swindon

ROTH refers to the approach adopted in Swindon to understand, and respond to, young people’s experiences of significant harm experienced beyond their families. ROTH seeks to identify and respond to harm and abuse posed to young people outside their home, either from adults or other young people. It may also be referred to as extra-familial harm or contextual safeguarding.

The child protection system was designed to protect children/young people* from risks posed by their families and/or situations where families had reduced capacity to safeguard those in their care.

It is widely recognised that there needs to be a different approach for safeguarding professionals when responding to risk outside the home. This approach recognises the different relationships that young people* form in their communities, neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over this, and young people’s* experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships.

These extra-familial threats might arise at school and other educational establishments, from within peer groups, or more widely from within the wider community and/or online. These threats can take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple threats, including:

  • exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups such as county lines or local lines;
  • trafficking;
  • online abuse;
  • teenage relationship and peer-on-peer abuse;
  • sexual exploitation
  • influences of extremism leading to radicalisation.


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.

Can you help us? Your services, staff/volunteers are in the heart of the local communities. We would very much like to work with you to raise awareness of this safeguarding issue and to become safeguarding partners with us.

We would be happy to provide briefings/awareness sessions. If you would like to discuss further or find out more. Please contact Jackie Barstow email

Further information is available on the Swindon Safeguarding Partnership website including a 7 Minute Brief on ROTH and a webpage for professionals Child exploitation – Swindon Safeguarding Partnership

*Although this term is used they are still children. A child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday and the statutory duty to safeguard and promote their welfare applies.