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Touch, physical and emotional. Abuse or neglect?

 

What is the place of touch, physical closeness, and indeed emotional closeness, in professional relationships these days?  In these post Saville days there seems to be a lot of confusion. Quite rightly people and organisations are wary of the risk of inappropriate touching and of child abuse, awareness of which is thankfully much higher.  Much of my clinical work is at the Portman clinic where we see many sex offenders, and we are all too aware of the serious dangers of ignoring these issues, the vital importance of Safeguarding and the need to ensure children are protected. However the counterpoint is an increasingly frightened and rule-bound culture which looks after professionals and institutions and puts their interests above the children in their care.

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Raising driven immoral kids?

 

A version of this appeared in the Telegraph recently, and can be accessed here 

Are results obsessed, league-table crazed state schools churning out pupils who are less moral than their posh public school counterparts, as headmaster Richard Walden recently claimed.? As so often with misconceived hyperbole, his statement contains a kernel of truth, and indeed raises fundamental questions that need answering.  After all, don’t we all want a more moral society, and to raise our kids to be well-rounded human beings who are not only caring of others, embrace and live by cultural and ethical values and are motivated by more than achievement, status and money?

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Neuromythmakers or neuro-deniers? A response to Zoe Williams (with Sue Gerhardt)

This article is a response to Zoe Williams’ piece in the guardian which can be accessed here.  This piece, which critiqued the use of neuroscience in child protection policy,  has generated considerable controversy. Many letters were published about it, many  upset and surprised that she took this line. Letters can be accessed here

 

Zoe Williams, a journalist whose politics we have generally agreed with,  lines up witnesses for the prosecution against what she sees as inappropriate use of brain science in social policy. She scores some direct hits. Yes, there have been clumsy attempts to grab attention with extreme images of severely neglected shrivelled brains. Yes, some attempts to explain the neuroscience have been crude. But a few examples of bad practice do not invalidate an entire body of rigorous science.

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Child care ratios, attachment and emotional health

A government document, called,  in 1984 style double-speak ‘More Great Childcare’  is suggesting that it is fine to increase staff-child ratios for childminders and nurseries (click for link to document) .  This is a huge worry to many who work with children and families, and particularly those who work in the area of infant and child mental health.  The proposals have sparked a huge wave of protest, including one petition which had a week ago already attracted over 20,000 signatures (see report).

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