How Safe 2021 conference

Last updated: 18 Mar 2021 Topics: Event Type: Event
How Safe 2021 virtual conference

Safeguarding childhood together

Our annual How safe are our children? conference provides professionals, from a wide range of sectors, the opportunity to debate, question and share insights about the latest strategies, policies and programmes to prevent child abuse and protect children.

Register interest for How Safe 2022

How Safe 2021

To ensure the safety of all our delegates, speakers, exhibitors, staff and contributors during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2020 conference was postponed to 4-5 March 2021. The event took place virtually and was hosted via Swapcard, an event platform.

The theme was supporting and protecting young people at every stage of their life – from childhood to early years, right through to adolescence. Different forms of abuse can have significant consequences and long-lasting impacts on children and their future development. It’s up to us to keep childhood safe from abuse by preventing it from happening.

Key areas of focus included child and adolescent mental health, online safety and preventing abuse in families facing additional pressures.


Keynote speeches at the 2021 conference included:

  • an opening presentation from Isabelle Trowler, England’s Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, who spoke about the child protection system in the UK and how we can combine the strength of child protection practice alongside the strengths of family and community
  • a session by Dr Carmen Chan, Clinical Psychological and Service Lead for Horizon, on the science and psychology of developmental trauma, the effects of adverse childhood events (ACEs) and providing trauma-informed care
  • Dez Holmes, Director of Research in Practice, closing day one with a thought-provoking session on why we need to adapt our safeguarding approach when working with adolescents as well as what recent research around adolescent safeguarding has shown
  • insight from Clarissa Smith, Professor of Media at Northumbria University, about the impact digital technologies can have on young people’s lives and the approaches we can take to understand more about their thoughts on privacy, relationship and sex education (RSE) and online safety
  • the Professor of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, Marian Brandon’s talk on key findings from the latest triennial analysis of serious case reviews where she provided an overview of the complexities and challenges children and families experienced.

See the agenda to find out more about the keynote speakers, panels and workshops at the 2021 conference. 

Download the conference agenda (PDF)

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact us at or call us on 0116 234 7246.

Our annual How Safe report

Last year, we refocused our annual How safe are our children? report to look into statistics relating to abuse perpetrated against adolescents. An overview is also included about the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the safety of children and young people in the UK.

See the key findings