Helping Children Learn About Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control: A Professional Guide, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Helping Children Learn About Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control

A Professional Guide, 1st Edition

By Catherine Lawler, Abigail Sterne


50 pages | 6 Color Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367510817
pub: 2020-07-28
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This guide is designed to support professionals in the sensitive and effective use of the storybook, Floss and the Boss, which was created to help young children understand about domestic abuse and coercive control.

By defining domestic abuse and coercive control and exploring the effects upon children and their education, this guidebook puts the professional in a position to have important conversations with children about what to do if something at home does not feel right. When used with the storybook, it provides a vehicle for talking to children about staying safe and their emotional wellbeing.

Key features of this book include:

  • Page-by-page notes, with discussion topics and points for conversation around the Floss and the Boss story
  • Activities for supporting children, safety planning strategies and guidance for taking on a key adult role
  • A comprehensive list of helplines and organisations in place to support adult victims of domestic abuse

This is a vital tool for teachers, social care staff, therapists and other professionals working with the Floss and the Boss story to teach young children about domestic abuse and coercive control.


"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

Table of Contents

Foreword Acknowledgements Introduction 1 The characters 2 Page by page teacher / mentor notes 3 Discussions and activities for supporting children, safety planning and supporting mothers 4 How children experience domestic abuse and coercive control 5 The impact on children and their education 6 Helplines Bibliography

About the Author

Catherine Lawler works as a training consultant for a Safeguarding Children's Partnership. She has extensive experience of working with 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. She has illustrated 30 books which have been translated and published in 7 countries.

She has achieved major commissions in both mural and fine art painting.

About the Series

Floss and the Boss

Helping Young Children Learn About Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Abuse / Child Abuse