1st Edition

Helping Children Learn About Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control A 'Floss and the Boss' Storybook and Professional Guide

    100 Pages 30 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This beautifully illustrated and sensitively written storybook and accompanying professional guide have been created to help young children understand about domestic abuse and coercive control. Floss is a happy little puppy who loves going to Doggy Daycare and playing with her best friend, Houdini. The story explores how things change when her Mum’s new friend, Boss, comes into their lives. Floss’s story supports children who have experienced domestic abuse and trauma as they make sense of their feelings, teaching them to seek help and stay safe.

    The supporting guidebook helps adults to work through the story effectively, putting the professional in a position to have important conversations with children about what to do if something at home does not feel right.

    This set:

    • Can be used to address the topic of domestic abuse and coercive control with individuals, small groups and whole classes, enabling dialogue around a sensitive issue
    • Offers activities for supporting children, safety planning strategies and guidance for taking on a key adult role
    • Can be used to support the PSHE curriculum, particularly around the topic of healthy relationships

    This set is a vital tool for teachers, social care staff, therapists and other professionals working to teach young children about domestic abuse and coercive control. It provides an important vehicle for talking to children about staying safe and their emotional wellbeing.

    Helping Children Learn About Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control: A Professional Guide  Floss and the Boss


    Catherine Lawler works as a training consultant for a Safeguarding Children's Partnership. She has extensive experience supporting children, young people and families. She has worked as a children's therapist, specialising in domestic abuse. She has developed resources on bullying, peer-on-peer abuse and children accessing sexualised imagery.

    Abigail Sterne is a Senior Educational Psychologist working in schools in Manchester and is a former teacher. She works closely with Central Manchester Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and has worked with fostering and adoption services.

    Catherine and Abigail are co-authors of Domestic Violence and Children: A handbook for schools and early years settings (Routledge, 2010). They have developed domestic abuse and safeguarding training packages for education and social care services. They wrote and delivered initial training for key adults for Operation Encompass, whereby key trained adults in schools receive prompt police notifications about abusive incidents. For this they received commander’s certificates from Devon and Cornwall constabulary. 

    Nicky Armstrong, B.A.(Hons) Theatre Design, M.A. Slade School of Fine Art, has illustrated 30 books which have been translated and published in seven countries. She has achieved major commissions in both mural and fine art painting.

    ‘The story made me feel grateful … there’s help for Floss.’

    Y1 pupil, Werneth Primary School, Oldham

    ‘This is an important topic to talk about … different year groups can read it … it’s about physical and mental bullying; the scenarios can happen in real life’

    ‘The message is that you should never be controlled’

    Y6 pupils Crab Lane Primary School, Manchester

    ‘This book does a great job of showing how domestic abuse and coercive control can manifest and the impact they can have on children and young people. It is a very useful resource for education and social care professionals working with families.’

    Kate Stanley, Director of Strategy, Policy and Evidence at NSPCC

    "The book is beautifully illustrated and carries a simple and extremely powerful story. The story itself is pitched just right for young children to engage with on a number of different levels. It would be useful for all children, regardless of whether they themselves are experiencing coercive control. The resources that accompany it are absolutely excellent for supporting professionals to use the book with children.

    With its vitally important message and engaging story, Floss and the Boss is an essential resource."

    Dr Emma Katz, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth, Liverpool Hope University, UK

    "Beautifully written with stunning illustrations, this is an excellent book for primary aged children."

    Social Work News

    "This sensitively written story has been created to help primary-age children understand about domestic abuse and coercive control… Use the book in the classroom to support the ‘healthy relationships’ element of your PSHE curriculum or to address the topic of domestic abuse and coercive control with either your whole class or individual pupils."

    Teach Primary