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Self-harm networks

Date: Thursday, 11th Jan 2024 | Category: General

The Self Harm Network owes much to the pioneering work of Dr Anne Stewart, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, who first set up and chaired the Adolescent Self Harm Forum in 1998. The Forum recognised the need for a multi-agency approach, raised awareness and informed practice. It produced the Self Harm Guidelines, which have over time, been revised through five editions to the guidelines we use today.

 In 2014, there was an unexpected growth in the number of children self-harming and attempting suicide, who were admitted to hospital from schools in North Oxfordshire. This increase mirrored national trends. The Self Harm Network in the North was set up as an inter-agency response to the increase, with the aims of supporting front line practitioners, improving information and intelligence sharing to safeguard young people from risk.

This first Network established the principle that self-harm is a Safeguarding matter, with the link it made with the work of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board. It also promoted the work of collecting data in schools about self-harm, as there was previously no systematic way of collecting self-harm data in community settings, such as schools, as opposed to data being collected of hospital admissions.

The Networks provide support with systemic issues, such as: training for staff; discussions of key points in time when young people are especially vulnerable (exams/transitions); data trends. The Networks are open to school staff, and any professionals from other statutory and voluntary agencies.

The Network is supported by a Steering Group of representatives from agencies accountable for managing responses to self-harm and attempted/suicide. The Steering Group reports on outcomes from the Network to the OSCB.

Objectives of the Network

 The overarching objective for the Network is to reduce the risks of self-harm by children and young people, wherever possible by:

  1. Providing a forum of support for professionals/agencies to meet to raise concerns, both systemic and casework concerns
  2. Monitoring data about self-harm including factors re: children at risk, interventions, services
  3. Developing resources and responses in the light of identified need

If you would like to join the termly meetings, please email with your request, your name and job role and your email address, and you will be included on the circulation list for meeting invites.

The next 2 meetings are taking place from 09:30 – 11:00 on 28.02.24 and 13.06.24.