Our work with rail industry partners
Our programme is designed to make sure vulnerable children are more easily spotted and supported on the rail network so the right support is offered at the right time. Our industry relationships mean we have heard many stories of rail staff making lifechanging interventions with vulnerable young people.
In 2020/21, 9,876 vulnerable young people were reported to BTP for many reasons including going missing, being exploited, being involved in county lines, feeling suicidal and involvement in abuse and harm.
Sadly, the number rises each year.
Our solution to address the risks and challenges our young people face is our Safeguarding on Transport programme which is made up of three elements that work together to build a safety net for vulnerable people.
The first element is training. It is essential to have more trained eyes and ears on the ground to identify and support vulnerable children and assist BTP.
The more children identified and reported by BTP, the more children can be referred to us or other services for ongoing support when required.
We have both eLearning and face-to-face training options available to rail staff which raise awareness of vulnerability and equip rail staff to play their part in keeping vulnerable people safe. Our training has been developed in partnership with, and is approved by, BTP.
The second element of our programme is to develop Safeguarding Action Groups (SAGs) at locations where there are high number of children at risk reported.
The aim of these groups is to raise awareness of safeguarding within the station community and implement local initiatives to address these issues. In so doing, we're improving community responses to vulnerable children and young people.
We know how busy staff can be, so these meetings take place every 6-8 weeks and last about an hour. Being part of a SAG group should not detract from a staff member's current role – it is there to compliment and help ensure we are meeting our responsibilities to safeguard our station community. SAGs help to action simple tasks such as:
- discussing vulnerability on daily briefing sheets with staff
- bringing in a local charity or professionals to share information about a specific issue (eg homelessness, dementia, autism)
- adding vulnerability and safeguarding onto the full station meeting agenda
- participating in stalls/events at the station and representing Railway Children's work
- ensuring campaign materials like BTP Look Beyond the Obvious are displayed
To begin with, one of our workers will be involved in establishing the SAG and will provide guidance on how it can develop. They will be able to share information about Railway Children's work and training as well as information about key events.
The third element of our work is delivered through our five projects that offer direct support to young people. We provide information and offer follow-up support if necessary to young people referred to us by BTP. This can be a simple intervention such as making a phone call to check they’re okay or it could lead to long term one-to-one support for that young person and their family, working alongside other professionals and organisations.
Our referrals include those aged 10 to 17 who live in our project areas and where there is a clear concern for vulnerability and wellbeing.
This includes those going missing, potentially being exploited, struggling with their mental health and at risk of harm. We currently have projects that cover the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside, London, Glasgow and The West Midlands.