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SKEF: Exploring Gang Culture, Criminal Exploitation, Vulnerability and Violence

  • Sean Collinge
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The Specialist Knowledge and Exchange Forums provide a unique opportunity to share practice experience and specialist skills, that will inform practice and service development. These sessions are suitable for social work practitioners, managers and anyone involved in supporting social work practice.

Session summary

This session will be presented by David Finnegan, London Metropolitan Police and Simone Nyarko & Kayleigh Broughton, Consultant Social Workers, London Borough of Hackney.

Participants will learn about the experiences of two agencies in supporting victims that are also perpetrators and together explore:

  • Understanding what may make a young person or vulnerable adult more susceptible to exploitation
  • Consider early warning signs that social work staff should be aware of in both child protection and adult social work
  • Consider what is needed from services to respond effectively to criminal exploitation and recovery

Participants will be able to share their own experiences and consider the usefulness, applicability and potential impact on practice and service outcomes.


David Finnegan

Police Sergeant David Finnegan is an active member of the UK Police Force; he has served in London with the Metropolitan Police Service for 15 years.  During this time he has policed Gang Related Crime (GRC) and lead the Enfield Gangs Unit – managing Criminal Investigations, Intervention Tactics and Local Authority Partnership Work.  PS Finnegan has extensive strategic and practical experience of Covert Policing Operations tackling Youth Violence. His long service with the Metropolitan Police has allowed him a broad range of policing perspectives; from policing local communities keeping the public safe, to two years as a Custody Sergeant responsible for the care and welfare of arrested persons.  

David Finnegan was commissioned as a Pilot Officer of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training) in 2006.  He continues to support thousands of young people aged between 12 and 20 in his work with the RAF Air Cadets, where he is now a Squadron Leader and the London Wing Shooting Officer,  with oversight of the skill and discipline of marksmanship.

 Kayleigh Broughton

Kayleigh is currently working as a Consultant Social Worker in the London Borough of Hackney’s Access and Assessment Service. Kayleigh has worked in statutory child protection for the last 10 years having worked in MASH, assessment and long term child protection teams as well as undertaking independent social work assessments of parenting capacity and court work. Kayleigh worked in the Contextual Safeguarding Project part of the London Borough of Hackney’s Family Intervention and Support Service (FISS) 2018-2020; this project focused on working with adolescent risk and  recognising and responding to extra-familial safeguarding issues. Kayleigh’s work included embedding the Contextual Safeguarding approach across FISS by delivering training to both internal and external partners.

Prior to 2011 Kayleigh worked in a range of voluntary and statutory settings in the London boroughs of Enfield, Southwark, Camden and Lambeth, and the city of Bath. Kayleigh has previously worked in Youth Justice, a Women and Children’s Refuge for families fleeing domestic abuse and mentoring services for young people at risk of criminal exploitation.

Kayleigh was appointed as a magistrate in the Adult Criminal Court in March 2015 and the Youth Court in  June 2018.


Simone Nyarko

With over 12 years in the social work field, Simone has developed a particular interest in understanding, preventing and responding to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB) and Peer-on-peer abuse.

As a manager within the Contextual Safeguarding Project (Hackney) she has managed and modelled the testing of assessment frameworks and interventions for practitioners from a contextual safeguarding perspective. This includes strategically formalising new processes and mechanisms to develop a robust, integrated and effective statutory child protection response to the complex and rapidly changing peer abuse issues within a local authority; this work has culminated in her authoring the first ever Neighbourhood Assessment using a Contextual Safeguarding framework (Firmin 2017).  Simone has authored a Safety Mapping resource which has been endorsed by the University of Bedfordshire and is available on their learning platform: The Contextual Safeguarding Network. This tool supports practitioners to understand risk and safety from the perspective of young people and contributes to the formulation of child-centered safety plans to address extra-familial harm.

Simone has independently been working on formalising a framework for the identification of peer-to-peer recruitment into exploitation, which builds on the work of the grooming triangle used by Barnardos to understand adult perpetrated Child Sexual Exploitation.  This work is due to be published late 2019.


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