Sunflower April Soirée: Sean Monaghan on Extra-Familial Harm

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This online evening talk will run 7-9pm 

Our April* Soirée will feature the brilliant Sean Monaghan, who will be talking about his career in youth work, criminal justice and social care and his pioneering organisation Safer:Now which specialises in safety planning for extra-familial harm.

The talk will take place between 7 and 9pm and will include an open discussion section about the subject matter. A separate peer networking session is offered between 6.15pm and 6.45pm – see below for further details.

*This event was due to run in March but has now moved to the April slot

Content Summary 

In Sean’s own words:

Growing up in a countryside town that was fraught with high levels of violence and drug usage, but with very little in the way of support, I saw and experienced first hand what ‘falling through the cracks’ meant, but those cracks in a rural setting are gaping. With so little in the way of positive activities, opportunities or services that could support young people, many harmful activities become the social norm. As I entered adulthood, it was also clear that there were very few job opportunities, and a culture of never really moving away from the town. I realised that environment was never going to afford me what I wanted to achieve, so I packed up and moved to the nearest city, Birmingham, without anywhere permanent to stay. I began my first youth work job whilst living in a hostel.

It was in that job that I realised this was what I wanted to do with my life, I loved taking young people to outdoor activity centres; building confidence, interacting with people other than those simply around where you grew up, helping them cook, clean and budget in student accommodation far away from home – seeing a bigger world full of opportunities, the same as I felt when moving to the city.

As I progressed in this role, I saw numerous young people not wish to take up the offer of these residential trips, and there were some similarities amongst those groups. Young people who struggled with education, had experienced abuse, were care experienced, or who had come into conflict with the criminal justice system.

Fast forward 10 years and I had managed a youth centre, specifically set up for a group of young people regularly exposed to violence, set up and ran three successful hospital-based violence interruption services, becoming heavily exposed to serious violence, trafficking, firearms and the like. There I developed my practice, especially in extreme high risk scenarios, supporting myself, staff and young people to safety. I realised that there were significant gaps in people’s understanding and practice as it relates to the nuanced, high risk scenarios where homicide was always a threat. It was then that I set up Safer:Now, a training and consultancy organisation supporting practitioners to develop their own abilities to deal with such risk.

In this Soiree, I’ll be sharing more about my life and work as well as discussing the idea of contextual safeguarding, the practice of safety planning* for such events involving violence, as well as managing risk in such hostile crises. There will also be an opportunity for Q&A and group discussion.

*Safety Planning for Extra-Familial Harm:

Safety planning is an oft-used tool within our Child Protection framework, but in that format, it does not translate well due to the complexities of extra-familial harm. Developing our understanding of the nuanced and complex risks such as exploitation, trafficking and street violence, and working them into a comprehensive yet practical plan is imperative to refresh our understanding of how to co-design effective safety planning. This is especially true when we often do not know who or where the harm can come from.

About Sean: 

Sean has spent many years practising within the sectors of youth work, criminal justice and social care as both a frontline practitioner and in service manager roles. He is now the Director of Safer:Now, a training and consultancy organisation specialising in professional practice related to extra-familial harm, based in Birmingham but offering training across the UK. The training is heavily practice focussed, on such topics as embedding contextual safeguarding policy and practice, exploring various typologies of criminal exploitation and related practice and legislation (beyond just county lines), and delivering the only safety planning for extra-familial harm training nationally. Within the safety planning training, there is a focus on looking at the trauma-responsive neurosequential model of therapeutics throughout. Safer:Now also consults on violence interruption, including hospital services, supporting their development and efficacy. Previously, Sean set up and delivered Hospital-based Violence Interruption Services, across three hospitals in Birmingham, supporting over 300 young victims of sexual violence, exploitation, and penetrative and gunshot injuries, as well as a hyper-local model for community-based violence intervention support.

Peer Networking

Before the main talk from each month’s featured speaker, our Sunflower Soirées also offer the opportunity to take part in a facilitated peer networking session using breakout rooms between 6.15pm and 6.45pm.

These short sessions are a great chance to chat, network and get to know some new friends and colleagues. Info and instructions for how to take part are sent out in the week leading up to the training along with a request to let us know if you’d like to join in that’s month’s session. You can turn up on the night but out of respect for the group we ask that you arrive no later than 6.15pm in order to avoid disruption to any ongoing discussions.

The networking session is optional and of course you’re welcome just to join us for the main talk at 7pm (doors will open from 6.45pm onwards)



Certificates are not automatically provided for Soirees as they are informal evenings.  If you would like a certificate for 2 CPD hours please contact the team at [email protected] to request one.


It is a requirement that all participants adhere to ethical conduct in the context of events including:

  • Respect for Sunflower staff, trainers and other attendees
  • Adherence to policies and procedures
  • Maintaining confidentiality and privacy
  • Sensitivity to complex issues being discussed

Anyone in breach of these threshold requirements may be removed from an event and could be unable to attend further events in the future. This is to safeguard the staff and participants as well as to enable quality assurance for the safety and wellbeing of all attendees.

In booking an event these criteria are agreed to in principle and committed to in practice.


Therapeutic trainings can work with complex and emotive topics that may be deeply personal for some delegates, depending on their lived experience. There will be breaks included on the day and one to one support will be available if needed, but please do reflect on whether you feel able to attend.  Your safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance.


Please note – The Sunflower Network does not record events for purchase or view at a later date nor permit recordings of the event to be made. All our events are ‘as live’. This is to safeguard the nurturing and contained environment we create online in order to maintain our culture of safe, private and supported interactivity and sharing.


On behalf of the trainers we work with, we do not allow content shared during our CPD days to be replicated or used in any way without due credit to the copyright owner. Doing so without previous consent may result in exclusion from further Sunflower events.


21 April 2023
$5 – $20