Helpng mothers move forward - A workbook to help provide assessment and support to the safe carers of children who have been sexually abused
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Offering tried and tested approaches for work with safe carers of children who have been sexually abused - principally but not exclusively mothers - this workbook allows you to adapt and evolve its framework during both the investigative and recovery stages of their individual experiences, including:
- setting the scene
- understanding a framework for the carer to understand sexual abuse
- helping the carer to consider these issues in relation to their own situation
- addressing the future including consideration of issues around safe care, especially if a family wants to consider reunification
Each section has some exercises that should be undertaken in all assessments, regardless of the carer's starting position, as they help to inform their thinking an provide them with useful information and a way of making some sense of what has happened. There are also additional exercises included for carers who are perhaps stuck on particular issues. Workers can choose which exercises are suitable for the carer they are working with. throughout, the worker is offered direct help and guidance on:
- helping carers to work through the stages of a reaction to traumatic news, and avoid judging them
- providing therapeutic support to help them make some sense of the turmoil they experience and learn how to 'move forward'
- showing a belief in the potential of the carer's capacity to grasp the issues, to move through the stages of shock and ultimately, to prioritise the child's needs
- helping carers reach the position of support for their child that is crucial to their recovery process
- above all, engaging sensitively with the carer from the outset, in ways that reduce the risk of alienation and potential for change
- but also, evidencing conclusions reached when the work with the cater is unsuccessful
- planning for relapse and involving the wider family and community networks, who are most likely both to spot the early signs of lapse, and provide the most day-to-day support
- giving carers time to come to terms with what has happened and their future intentions for themselves and the child in their care before any assessment is made on ' ability to protect'
- unlocking access to reliable sources of additional information, often by reference to Martin Calder's Mothers of Sexually Abused Children (RHP 2001) as the primary source
Lynda Regan ahs been a social worker on an area team in Salford and a therapeutic social worker at Salford Cornerstone Project, a specialist service for child victims of sexual abuse, where she is not Children's Services Manager. She is co-author of Looking Glass: a protective communication workbook (RHP 2002).