Communicating with Vulnerable Children: A Guide for Practitioners
David P.H. Jones
Communicating with Vulnerable
Children provides a wealth of practical suggestions for all
professionals who work with children and young people. It explains
how best to communicate when the child has suffered adversity, such
as experiences of harm and abuse, or witnessing violence or other
distressing events. The focus is on helping children provide full
and accurate accounts of their experiences without suggestion from
Each chapter sets out the relevant
policy and procedural context and reviews the available evidence,
then gives recommendations and practical advice about how best to
communicate with the child.
This book is aimed at anyone who
works with or spends time with children. This ranges from
professionals whose specialist tasks include helping those who have
been abused or neglected, such as social workers, child and
adolescent mental health professionals or children's guardians
within the Family Justice system, through to those who see children
every day, such as teachers. It will be also be an invaluable guide
for doctors, health visitors and all those advising concerned
- The author is a leading authority on
communicating with maltreated children.
- Introductory chapter includes clear
guidelines for using the book.
- Summaries of advice and suggestions
are presented in boxes as lists that are easy to photocopy for
- Intended as a practical resource book
1. Introduction and
Organisation and suggested use
PART I. THE KNOWLEDGE BASE
General understanding. Memory. Suggestibility. The consistency of
children’s recall over time. Language development. Social and
emotional development. Conclusions.
3. Erroneous concerns and
Terminology. The consequences of erroneous concern. Frequency of
types of false positive errors. Mechanisms leading to false
positive cases of abuse.
4. The child’s psychological
The effects of adverse experiences on children. Some special
problems. The effect of the child’s psychological condition on
5. Diversity and difference:
implications for practice
Race, culture and language. Disabled children.
6. Successful communication:
core skills and basic principles
Self-management. Technique. Implications for the practitioner.
7. How concerns come to
professional attention: the context for practice
Use and misuse of the term ‘disclosure’. Developmental
considerations. Social and emotional factors. Children at different
stages in the child protection system. Children’s presentations of
sexual abuse allegations. Children’s accounts subsequent to
discovery of physical harm. Qualitative studies of children’s
experiences of telling others. Adult recollections of childhood
abuse. Delay in disclosing adverse experiences. Have sexual assault
prevention programmes affected the presentation of concerns?
PART II. PRACTICE
8. Practice issues:
9. Talking with the child:
first responses to children’s concerns
Policy and procedural issues. Research findings concerning first
responses. Implications for practitioners.
10. Talking with children
about adverse events during initial assessments
The policy and procedural context. Research findings. Implications
for practitioners. Summary.
11. In-depth interviews with
The policy and procedural context. Research findings and practice
implications. A schema for undertaking in-depth interviews.
12. Indirect and non-verbal
Observation. Toys and drawings. Research findings. Implications for
13. Advice for
parents and carers
First concerns. Advice during the process of assessment. When
A framework for analysis. Training. Future directions for practice