Child Protection in the Early Years – Eunice Lumsden

Young children are among the most vulnerable people in our community. Protected, cherished and encouraged to explore their world, they will flourish, but exploited, molested or subjected to violence or neglect, they will struggle to do so. Because Early Years practitioners relate so closely and for so many hours with young children, they are key professionals when it comes to safeguarding.
The essential role of Early Years staff was brought home to me during the many years I worked at the front line of child protection. I observed that they are the experts in communicating with pre-verbal children or those with limited verbal skills. Furthermore, every day they see lots of happy, thriving children, and so instinctively recognise one who, despite a cheerful façade, is neglected and suffering. Those involved in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) can appear approachable and non-threatening, so parents experiencing difficulties with their children will feel comfortable confiding in them. However, too often in the past staff engaged in ECEC had difficulty expressing their concerns or making their voices heard. I recall attending a case conference where the parents were absent.

The chairperson gave a young, female practitioner, introduced as a ‘nursery nurse’, very little opportunity to contribute, asking her to simply state whether the children attended nursery regularly. Before she could add anything else, the chairperson brusquely moved on to the other contributors. In the moments before the conference ended, the nursery nurse managed to mention that the mother had confided that she was pregnant again. Accordingly, just as everyone was preparing to leave, we all had to sit back down and spend another half an hour discussing the implications of this new development, given that it made many of our earlier recommendations irrelevant or inappropriate.
This example illustrates that while Early Years practitioners undoubtedly have superlative skills in observation, communication and in relating to young children and their families, some may need help and guidance to articulate their concerns or raise issues assertively with other professionals; Child Protection in the Early Years: A Practical Guide will assist with this. The book is designed to enhance basic knowledge of safeguarding and the impact of abuse on children’s development. It will help ensure practitioners know how to recognise, record and report concerns. Readers are given insights into the relevance of attachment theory, the significance of policy and procedures, and the importance of working with others. Finally, the creation of an environment that promotes the development of traumatised children is discussed. There are exercises, reflection points, case studies and practice points, all designed to help readers assimilate information while the material is presented in a highly readable form.
Child Protection in the Early Years will prove a valuable resource in providing those working in ECEC with the knowledge and guidance to help them take full advantage of their skills and understanding in order to safeguard children.

From the foreword by Dr Celia Doyle

Author Eunice Lumsden is Head of Early Years at the University of Northampton, UK. She is a registered social worker with over thirty years’ experience, specialising in children and families.


If you would like to read more articles like this and get the latest news and offers on our early years books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Special Ed, PSHE and Early Years Resources Facebook page.

Protecting Children and Adults from Abuse After Savile

Savile

Marcus Erooga, author of  Protecting Children and Adults from Abuse After Savile and former Chair of NOTA, discusses the impact of the Jimmy Savile case in causing a stream of subsequent high-profile sexual offence allegations to appear.

It is human nature to want to identify casual links. If x is a consequence of y then our world becomes more comprehensible and somehow feels safer. Early in my career I was warned about the inherent dangers of making easy links when the Professor who was giving the research module of my MA, an eminent researcher himself, suggested that all research should be prefaced with “Isn’t it interesting that…”.

In that spirit… isn’t it interesting that since the death of Jimmy Savile in October 2011, there has been a seemingly unending stream of revelations about sexual abuse or at best inappropriate sexual behaviour by powerful people – mostly men? Difficult as it is to remember how such issues were perceived prior to the revelations about Savile following his death, it seems safe to say that nobody anticipated the astonishing series of events which began shortly afterward and seem likely to continue, in one form or another, for the foreseeable future.

Continue reading

Rotherham abuse scandal: what was life like for a victim?

rotherhamOften described as the “biggest child protection scandal in UK history”, the organised child sexual exploitation in Rotherham saw around 1,400 children abused from 1997 – 2013 (according to the Jay Report). The scale of the child protection scandal has led professionals responsible for safeguarding children in other regions to recognise the extent of child abuse in their area and consider how to respond efficiently.

On the 25th July, we hosted an event at Kingston University to launch Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham, a book written by two whistleblowers of the case, Adele Gladman and Dr Angie Heal. Adele Gladman is an experienced safeguarding children trainer and consultant, and previously ran the research and development pilot funded by the Home Office which was referred to in both the Jay and Casey reports during the Rotherham case. Dr Angie Heal was a strategic analyst working for South Yorkshire police who has since contributed to Panorama documentaries. Both gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee for the Rotherham case in 2014 and they continue to assist with ongoing investigation and inquiries.

Also joining us on the day, we heard talks from Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Professor Alexis Jay OBE, author of the Independent Inquiry report into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, and T, a survivor of Rotherham case.

Known as T to keep her identity private, this brave individual came to the seminar for this book in order to give a talk about what had happened to her. Coming from a large family, T spoke of her previously normal life before the abusive events that followed. In the recording below, you can listen to her talk about what life was like living through the abuse she encountered from such a young age, and the appalling trial that followed.

Do’s and Don’ts for Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence

working with survivors of sexual violenceSue J. Daniels, a therapeutic counsellor and author of Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence, discusses the top 20 do’s and don’ts for working with survivors of sexual violence.

I remember the first client I ever saw; she was an ex-heroin addict who had been sexually violated by her brother when she was eleven years old. That particular client session was twenty years ago now, and I still remember her to this day.

The client told me that it wasn’t until she was fifteen that she realised what her brother did to her wasn’t normal. Before then, she only knew that she felt uncomfortable and that she didn’t like it but because she loved him she accepted it. During a school biology lesson she had a light bulb moment that it was wrong; so very wrong. After many years of drug addiction and self-sabotage, it took a further twenty years for her to fully disclose what had happened when she engaged in therapy for the first time.

When a person has been raped or sexually violated in any way, they can often live in their own private hell, unable to speak or recall their experiences easily. Having a trained professional to listen, with both their ears and their heart, can be priceless to that individual and is the beginning of healing and restoration for that person.

Every week we get calls from counsellors, policing teams, support workers and other professionals asking for information and/or advice about working with rape and sexual violence, so I’ve put together the following information to answer some of the questions previously asked:

Continue reading