No sign of harm

issues for disabled children communicating about abuse

Rebecca Oosterhoorn, Andrew Kendrick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    11 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    While all children may be the victims of abuse, disabled children are particularly vulnerable. This paper explores the views of professionals working with children using alternative/augmented communication systems on the issues relating to communication about abuse. Interviews were carried out with 20 staff from eight establishments for disabled children across Scotland. It describes the range of alternative/augmented communication systems used and the barriers to communication about abuse. Staff generally accepted the importance of providing the appropriate vocabulary in augmented communication systems, but systems that provide such vocabulary were not widely used. Staff considered that a major difficulty concerned the level of understanding disabled children might have about concepts of abuse. They were unsure how the appropriate vocabulary could be introduced in a natural way and how links could be made between the signs and their meanings. Staff saw themselves as those most able to protect the children, but it was felt that discovery of abuse was more likely to come from them noticing physical signs, behaviour or mood changes than from the child communicating explicitly about abuse. The need for appropriate training and increased coordination between social work, health and education is highlighted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)243-253
    Number of pages10
    JournalChild Abuse Review
    Volume10
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2001

    Fingerprint

    Disabled Children
    Vocabulary
    abuse
    Communication
    communication system
    staff
    vocabulary
    Communication Barriers
    Scotland
    Social Work
    Health Education
    Interviews
    communication
    mood
    social work
    interview
    health
    education

    Keywords

    • disabled children
    • sexual abuse
    • child protection
    • communication

    Cite this

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    title = "No sign of harm: issues for disabled children communicating about abuse",
    abstract = "While all children may be the victims of abuse, disabled children are particularly vulnerable. This paper explores the views of professionals working with children using alternative/augmented communication systems on the issues relating to communication about abuse. Interviews were carried out with 20 staff from eight establishments for disabled children across Scotland. It describes the range of alternative/augmented communication systems used and the barriers to communication about abuse. Staff generally accepted the importance of providing the appropriate vocabulary in augmented communication systems, but systems that provide such vocabulary were not widely used. Staff considered that a major difficulty concerned the level of understanding disabled children might have about concepts of abuse. They were unsure how the appropriate vocabulary could be introduced in a natural way and how links could be made between the signs and their meanings. Staff saw themselves as those most able to protect the children, but it was felt that discovery of abuse was more likely to come from them noticing physical signs, behaviour or mood changes than from the child communicating explicitly about abuse. The need for appropriate training and increased coordination between social work, health and education is highlighted.",
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    No sign of harm : issues for disabled children communicating about abuse. / Oosterhoorn, Rebecca; Kendrick, Andrew.

    In: Child Abuse Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, 25.08.2001, p. 243-253.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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