As we continue to work to support families through this ever-changing landscape many of us have observed first-hand the devastating impact and effects on children, young people and families living in communities across Cornwall.

Emerging from a third lockdown it became clear the extent by which many families have been adversely affected by the experience of the pandemic. COVID- 19 for many was much more than a health crisis. So, as we move into the recovery phase and begin to re-emerge following a year of continual change, frequent lockdowns and for some long periods of isolation, we must remain vigilant to the ongoing risk of Hidden Harm for some families living in Cornwall.

The scale of the challenge to support those that have remained out of sight and reach of support networks and services when they were needed is yet unquantified, and the full impact of the previous 12 months is likely to reverberate and create a ripple effect across communities making some families vulnerable for the foreseeable future. So, we continue to work together to seek ways to decrease an individual’s level of vulnerability.

In response to this the HeadStart Kernow team with input from colleagues representing those reflected in the One Vision Partnership created the Increased Vulnerability Hidden Harm Guidance for professionals

This dynamic, easy-to-navigate document is intended as a support guide for all professionals, working with children, young people and their families. One that promotes the relationship-based trauma informed model that is at the heart and core of all the work that we do. A reminder to staff not only to consider the needs of those already identified as vulnerable but of those not previously considered vulnerable but have become so due to a loss of protective factors, and changes in circumstances as a result of the ongoing COVID crisis.

A document that reminds us there is power in listening empathetically and without judgment, enquiring about needs and concerns, validating peoples’ experiences and feelings, enhancing safety, and connecting people to relevant support services which can make all the difference when helping to safeguard and protect children, young people and their families and in the prevention of risk escalation.

We have a real window of opportunity to work collaboratively with partners and alongside families to bring hope and support with the transition in to the new. Empowering children, young people and families to find their voices, share their stories and get the help and support that they need.


Page last updated: 21 April 2022

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