29 April

Kooth: Prioritising Safeguarding

Kooth is predicated on providing easy access to professional help. In eliminating all the barriers in the way of support, we enable earlier preventative intervention for children and young people.

Anonymity is an important component of this accessibility. It gives children and young people a sense of autonomy and control over their support: they can get help on their own terms.

This help can be found in a number of ways. Some young people choose to engage in a one-to-one session with a counsellor. Some read and contribute therapeutic content. Some use online tools like our mood tracker or online journal. Some take part in moderated peer-to-peer forums.

For those choosing a booked or drop-in counselling session, we have a large team of experienced therapists and emotional wellbeing practitioners on hand. Children and young people present with a huge variety of issues and are supported according to need; counsellors are flexible and use therapeutic approaches best suited to an individual, often trying and combining different approaches to find the right path.

Each counsellor is aware of the critical importance of safeguarding. This is supported at XenZone through rigorous and ongoing training and via a clinical team who have oversight of vulnerable Kooth clients.

Safeguarding is our Priority

There can be no greater priority than safeguarding children and young people. For this reason we have a dedicated safeguarding team which oversees and supports the work of our online and face-to-face counsellors. The team carefully assesses the ‘at risk’ nature of individuals engaging in one-to-one counselling sessions, ensuring that staff and clients are fully supported. As we regularly help vulnerable young people who might be experiencing complex mental health difficulties, we work closely with organisations such as CAMHS, the police, child protection investigation teams and local authority social care services and safeguarding teams.

Clinical and safeguarding reviews occur on a weekly basis to review individual cases, all of which are overseen by the Head of Safeguarding.

In 2018, there were 146 safeguarding calls made to the out of hours ‘on-call’ manager. These calls are made internally by the team and often require outreach to emergency services or out of hours social services. A total of 668 cases were reviewed over the year to facilitate supporting young people who presented with high safeguarding risk.

In 2018, following the implementation of a Child Exploitation intelligence reporting protocol, in addition to our safeguarding processes in place, over 20 cases of Child Exploitation intelligence were shared with local and regional police forces.

All our online workers undergo safeguarding training at induction and annually thereafter, adhering closely to our safeguarding policy and escalation procedures. We work to the latest safeguarding guidance and are guided by the Common Assessment Framework as the basis for case note recording.

We are committed to working with our local authority partners and their Safeguarding Boards to align safeguarding procedures and ensure proper integration. As Kooth is accredited by the BACP, we also abide by its ethical principles and code of professional conduct.