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Safer York Partnership Working with Individuals Vulnerable to Extremism: City of York Practice Guidance 


Male circumcision

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis. The procedure is usually requested for social, cultural or religious reasons (e.g. by families who practice Judaism or Islam). There are parents who request circumcision for assumed medical benefits.

There is no requirement in law for people undertaking male circumcision to be medically trained or to have proven expertise. Traditionally, religious leaders or respected elders may conduct this practice.

The British Association of Paediatric Surgeons advises that there is rarely a clinical indication for circumcision.

Where parents request circumcision for their son for medical reasons, it is recommended that circumcision should be performed by or under the supervision of doctors trained in children’s surgery in premises suitable for surgical procedures.

Male circumcision that is performed for any reason other than physical or clinical need is termed non-therapeutic circumcision. The legal position on male circumcision is untested and therefore remains unclear. Nevertheless, professionals may assume that the procedure is lawful provided that:

  • It is performed competently, in a suitable environment, reducing risks of infection, cross infection and contamination;
  • It is believed to be in the child’s best interests;
  • There is valid consent from family/parents and the child, if old enough, is Gillick competent or meets the Fraser Guidelines

Circumcision may constitute significant harm to a child if the procedure was undertaken in such a way that he:

  • Acquires an infection as a result of neglect;
  • Sustains physical, functional or cosmetic damage as a result of the way in which the procedure was carried out;
  • Suffers emotional, physical or sexual harm from the way in which the procedure was carried out;
  • Suffers emotional harm from not having been sufficiently informed and consulted, or not having his wishes taken into account.

Harm may stem from the fact that clinical practice was incompetent (including lack of anaesthesia) and/or that clinical equipment and facilities were inadequate, not hygienic etc.

The professionals most likely to become aware that a boy is at risk of, or has already suffered, harm from circumcision are health professionals (GPs, health visitors, A&E staff or school nurses) and childminding, day care and teaching staff. If a professional in any agency becomes aware, through something a child discloses or another means, that the child has been or may be harmed through male circumcision, a referral must be made to children’s social care.

Community and religious leaders should take a lead in the absence of approved professionals and develop safeguards in practice. This could include setting standards around hygiene, advocating and promoting the practice in a medically controlled environment and outlining best practice if complications arise during the procedures.

Video - Young carers talk about looking after parents who have mental illness.   


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Modern slavery

A York and North Yorkshire leaflet telling you what modern slavery is and what you can do to stop it.
(Also see

Modern Slavery is the condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the rights of ownership are exercised. People are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain. It is a global crime which transcends age, gender, ethnicity, and borders. Victims of modern slavery may have being brought legally or illegally from overseas, or they may be British citizens living in the United Kingdom. Unaccompanied and/or intentionally displaced children are at particular risk.

Modern slavery operates in a variety of public and private locations. However, high risk industries for forced labour include: construction, food packaging and processing, agriculture, and fisheries. Brothels and “escort” websites can be used to facilitate sexual exploitation.

Signs that a child may be being subjected to modern slavery include:

  • The child looks intimidated and behaves in a way that does not correspond with behaviour typical of children of his/her age.
  • The child has been brought from another country and/or has false documents or no passport or travel documents.
  • The child is with an adult, but it is unclear what their relationship is, or there are concerns about the relationship between parent and child.
  • The child is orphaned or separated from family members.
  • The child frequently goes missing from home, or is homeless.
  • The child is unable or reluctant to give details of accommodation or personal details.
  • The child possesses money or goods that cannot be accounted for.
  • The child is not registered with a G.P. or enrolled in a school.
  • Unrelated or new children are found at the same address.
  • The child displays physical symptoms such as pregnancy, STDs or evidence of assault.
  • The child rarely leaves the house, has no freedom of movement and no time for playing.
  • The child eats apart from “family” members.
  • The child is engaged in work that is not suitable for children, or is seen in inappropriate places such as brothels and factories.
  • The child gives a prepared story which is very similar to stories given by other children.

The York & North Yorkshire Modern Slavery Network have designed pod casts to promote Anti-slavery Day but these can be used at any time in training events, through social media, through any engagement with the public. They can also be used as stand alone resources and/or in conjunction with other publicity material.

Podcast 1 – Gemma Gibbs from Crimestoppers

Podcast 2 – Professor Gary Craig, Vice Chair of the Modern Slavery Partnership for York and North Yorkshire

Podcast 3 – Matt Boxall – City of York Council

Podcast 4 – York University Anti-Trafficking Society - 

If you have a concern about a child who is being subjected to modern slavery (or their parent is a victim) please refer to the Concerned about A Child page and contact the Children’s Front Door. (If your concern is about an adult please contact Adult Safeguarding.)

If someone is at immediate risk of harm call the police.

 A link to the Modern Slavery Act

The Home Office Modern Slavery training resource page has useful leaflets, videos, links and eLearning.

Further information on modern slavery and human trafficking can be found on the National Crime Agency website including information about the National Referral Mechanism

Further resources and guidance are also available from Hope For Justice

Modern Slavery Confidential Helpline - UNSEEN

Independent Modern Slavery Commissioner

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Not attending school

Schools have systems for monitoring attendance. The local authority has a range of legal powers to enforce school attendance, including the prosecution of parents who fail to ensure that their children attend school regularly. If a parent fails to comply with local authority efforts to ensure regular school attendance for a child, this must be viewed as a child welfare matter.

When a child is absent or missing from school, they could be at risk of significant harm through physical or sexual abuse or exploitation. The child may be absent or missing because they are suffering physical, sexual or emotional abuse and/or neglect at home.

Children who are absent or missing from school may also be missing from care or home.


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Online abuse

As technology develops, the internet can be accessed through various devises including mobile phones, text messaging, mobile camera phones as well as computers and games consoles. As a result, the internet has become a significant tool in the distribution of indecent photographs and videos of children and young people as well as somewhere that children and young people might be vulnerable to bullying.

Internet chat rooms, forums and bulletin boards are used as a means of contacting children with a view to grooming them for inappropriate or abusive relationships which may include requests to make or transmit pornographic images of themselves or to perform sexual acts live in front of a web cam.

There is a growing cause for concern about the exposure of children to inappropriate material via the internet.

Since 3 April 2017, section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 means that it is now a criminal offence for anyone aged 18 or over to intentionally communicate with a child under 16, where the person acts for a sexual purpose and the communication is sexual or intended to elicit a sexual response. The offence applies to online and offline communication, including social media, e-mail, texts, letters, etc.

Where a child/young person has been made the subject of abusive images advice must be sought from Children’s Social Care.

If a young person under the age of 18 is suspected of involvement in perpetrating abuse through abusive images or of grooming or sexual abuse online, again an enquiry should be made  to Children's Social Care.

Young people often exchange indecent images themselves in the context of a friendship or a relationship.  This is also an offence, and can have significant consequences for the young people involved in terms of their own wellbeing.  Sending a sexual text, image or video can be dangerous if shared with the wrong person. Once a message is sent, there is no control over what happens to it.

There is more advice and information from the Childline organisation. 

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Parental mental illness

Parental mental illness does not necessarily have an adverse impact on a child’s care and developmental needs, however, studies of  child deaths through abuse or neglect have shown showed clear evidence of parental mental illness in some cases.

Post-natal depression can impact adversely on a mother’s ability to care for a child. The impact of parental mental ill health on the child’s development is linked to the overall parenting capacity and family and environmental factors.

Where any of the following parental risk factors are evident, consideration should be given to whether there is a current concern for the child which needs assessing:

  • Previous or current history of mental health problems;
  • Pre-disposition to or severe post-natal illness;
  • Non-compliance with treatment, reluctance or difficulty in engaging with necessary services and lack of insight into the effects of the illness and impact on the child;
  • Delusional thinking which involves the child;
  • Obsessional compulsive behaviours which involve the child;
  • Self-harming behaviour and suicide attempts;
  • Altered states of consciousness.

The presence of other risk factors such as domestic abuse and parental substance misuse may compound the concerns for the child. Where there is a concern for a child whose parent has a mental health illness it is important to liaise with Adult Mental Health Services in order to:

  • Share information and knowledge on both the child and the parent(s);
  • Establish whether the parent is currently subject to the Care Programme Approach (CPA) and the nature of the mental health concern;
  • Establish the nature of previous mental health problems;
  • Use validated assessment tools;
  • Gain advice and consultation in respect of the needs of the parent with mental health problems.

Adult Mental Health Services use a tool called the ‘PAMIC’ (Potential for the Adult’s Mental Ill Health to Impact on the Child) tool to assess the likelihood and severity of the impact of an adult’s parental mental ill health on a child. It helps with the consideration of the nature of risk but also the protective factors for the child.



Young Carers talk about experiences of their parents' mental health problems



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Parents with learning disability

A parent with a learning disability does not necessarily have difficulty in meeting her/his child’s needs. Learning disabled parents may need additional support to develop their understanding, resources, skills and experience to help them meet the needs of their children. This will particularly be the case where other stress factors are present such as:

  • Domestic abuse;
  • Poor physical health;
  • Poor mental health;
  • Substance misuse;
  • Poor housing;
  • Social isolation;
  • Social intimidation or harassment from others;
  • Poverty;
  • A history of growing up in care

These are the same stress factors which affect any other parent. The presence of such factors will add additional pressures for parents. Children may end up taking increasing responsibility for caring for themselves and, at times, for their siblings, parents and other family members.

A mother with a learning disability may be at increased risk of being targeted by men who wish to gain access to her children for the purpose of sexually abusing them.

Where there is concern for a child whose parent(s) has a learning disability it is important to liaise with the Adult Learning Disability Service to:

  • Share information and knowledge;
  • Use validated assessment tools;
  • Gain advice and consultation in respect of the needs of the learning disabled parent.

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Parental substance misuse

It is important not to make assumptions about the impact on a child of parental drug and/or alcohol misuse. However, a parent's practical caring skills may be diminished by misuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Some substance misuse may give rise to mental states or behaviour that put children at risk of injury, psychological distress or neglect. Some substance misusing parents may find it difficult to give priority to the needs of their children. Finding money for drugs and/or alcohol may reduce the money available to the household to meet basic needs or may draw families into criminal activities.

Children may be at risk of physical harm if drugs and paraphernalia, e.g. needles, are not kept safely out of reach. Some children have been killed through inadvertent access to drugs, e.g. methadone stored in a fridge. In addition, children may be in danger if they are a passenger in a car whilst a drug/alcohol misusing carer is driving.

The risk will be greater when the adult's substance misuse is chaotic or otherwise out of control. Children are particularly vulnerable when parents are withdrawing from drugs.

The children of substance misusing parents are at increased risk themselves of developing drug and alcohol problems.

Maternal substance misuse in pregnancy can have serious effects on the health and development of the unborn baby.


York Young Person’s Drug & Alcohol Team offer

Support is available for young people in the community or a school, at a mutually convenient place and time. Approach is flexible and based upon reducing the harm drugs & alcohol can cause.  Referrals can be made by the Young People themselves, by family, friends and other professionals.  The only requirement is that the young person is aware the referral is being made and they are willing to meet. All aspects of our service is free to access.

Support may include:

  • 1:1 support for under 18s using substances or for under 18s affected by someone else’s substance use
  • 1:1 support for those 18-21 using substances to support the transition to adult services
  • Drug & Alcohol Education to Schools, Colleges & University
  • Free Professionals drug & Alcohol awareness training

 Please see links to a referral form and poster. 



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'Prevent' - preventing terrorism

If you think that a child or young person is vulnerable to extremism/radicalisation or exhibiting behaviour or making comments that suggest he/she may be involved in activity which could be linked to terrorism, you need to follow the guidance on being 'Concerned About a Child'

If you feel that there is threat to life for the individual or others, you must report the matter to the police on 999.

is a key element of the Prevent Strategy. It is a Home Office publication designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. ‘Channel’ is a multi-agency approach to protect people at risk from radicalisation using existing collaboration between local authorities, statutory partners, the police and local community to:

  • Identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism
  • Assess the nature and extent of that risk and
  • Develop the most appropriate support plan for the individual concerned

It is about early intervention diverting people away from the risk they face. In order to do this, information sharing is crucial. If Children's Social Care, North Yorkshire Police and/or the local authority lead on 'Prevent' and the 'Channel' process think that there is a risk, a Channel Panel to assess the risk and agree further actions may be convened and you will be asked for any information you may have.

An individual  exhibiting behaviour or making comments that suggest he/she may be involved in activity which could be linked to terrorism may, for example be:

  • Accessing information on the internet with links to terrorist activity
  • Using extreme right wing symbols
  • Exhibiting significant changes in behaviour
  • Spending significant periods of time alone, withdrawing from social interaction
  • Having a sudden and obsessive interest in topical terrorist related news stories
  • Using terminology or words associated with terrorism - notice, check and share.

Useful Links

Safer York Partnership Working with Individuals Vulnerable to Extremism: City of York Practice Guidance

York Prevent Referral Form

Channel Referral Process

Let's Talk About It is an initiative designed to provide practical help and guidance to the public in order to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Educate Against Hate gives teachers, parents and school leaders practical advice and information on protecting children from extremism and radicalisation.

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Private Fostering

Private fostering rules apply when children and young people are cared for on a full time basis by a person who is not their parent, a person with parental responsibility, or a defined relative (a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of full or half blood or by marriage), or a step-parent. The unmarried partner of a parent is not a “step-parent” for this purpose and will be considered to be a private foster carer.

Private fostering arrangements are those where it is intended for the placement to be of 28 days or more. They are generally made with the agreement of the child’s parent, but this may not necessarily be the case.

Private fostering rules only apply to children under 16 years, or under 18 if they are disabled.

Professionals who come into contact with privately fostered children – such as teachers, religious leaders, doctors and health visitors – are required to tell Children’s Social Care about the private fostering arrangement so that Children’s Social Care can carry out their duty to safeguard the child.

CYSCB Private Fostering page for parents, carers and the public.

Yor-OK website guidance

City of York Council information 

National organisation- Somebody Else's Child 

Email York Children's Social Care at or phone 01904 551900.



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Prostitution: Parental involvement in prostitution/sex work

Involvement of family members in sex work does not necessarily mean children will suffer significant harm. Where there is a concern for a child whose parent or carer is involved in sex work the following factors should be considered:

  • Any exposure of the child to unsuitable adults and sexual activity or materials especially where the parent works from home;
  • Any emotional, physical or sexual abuse of the parent or any behaviour in another adult which leaves the parent involved in prostitution in fear;
  • Child left unattended or being left with the responsibility of younger siblings;
  • Factors associated with substance misuse and/or mental health difficulties.

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