1st Edition

Helping Children to Learn About Safer Sexual Behaviour
A Narrative Approach to Working with Young Children and Sexually Concerning Behaviour

ISBN 9781909301740
Published March 30, 1998 by Routledge
142 Pages

USD $44.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This unique resource comprises a therapeutic workbook and storybook, designed to be used as an early intervention with children within the school setting who display concerning sexual behaviour. The workbook contains a series of activities with accompanying user-friendly advice including how to broach difficult subjects, how to engage with children who have additional needs and how to create conditions of safety to enable the necessary conversations and activities to happen.

The programme of work culminates in the creation of a unique and dynamic Safety Plan which is developed collaboratively with the child (as the expert) together with key adults in their lives. The Safety Plan is designed to meet the needs of the child and gives attention to their cultural context and specific likes/interests; this ultimately keeps them and other children safe from further incidents or allegations of sexually concerning behavior.

The accompanying storybook, 'Billy and the Tingles' employs narrative therapy, telling the story of a child with sexually concerning behaviour and addressing contemporary issues of exposure to pornography.



Laura Walker is a Senior Practitioner in a specialist service working with young people aged 7-17 years old who have displayed sexually concerning/harmful behavior. Laura has been a qualified Social Worker for 15 years with a background in child protection, fostering and sexual abuse work. Laura is currently studying for a Masters in Trauma Studies specialising in the relationship between trauma and sexually concerning behaviour in children.

Carol Laugharne is a Practitioner in a specialist service working with young people aged 7-17 years old who have displayed sexually concerning/harmful behavior. Carol is a qualified Youth Worker with 20 years background in a number of settings with children and young people aged 4 - 19 years including Youth Work, Children's Rights, Drug and Alcohol Services, sexual exploitation and children of drug and alcohol using parents.


"There is a real lack of information to support those helping children whose sexual behaviour is beginning to cause concern. This is particularly the case for children in their pre-teen years. Laura Walker and Carol Laugharne have stepped in and have provided a practical resource aimed at children between 7 and 11 years old. Their resource pack and the accompanying children's story book are written with care and sensitivity. They are strengths-based and offer children and families the chance to deal with concerns in an informed and constructive way. Suitable for a wide range of professionals, not just those in specialist 'harmful sexual behaviour' services, the resource pack will be enormously helpful as a core part of the toolboxes of professionals dealing with this difficult topic." — Professor Simon Hackett, Durham University and Chair of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA).

"In "Helping children to learn about safer sexual behaviour", Laura Walker and Carol Laugharne have created a very measured, practical, hopeful resource for that vital engagement with pre-teen children whose behaviour has caused concern. Such children need to be helped to behave differently. To do this they need sound and sensible information about bodies, about feelings and about respect. But they also need to feel good about themselves and feel excited about their futures. Those working with these children need to feel confident about what to say and do, and about how to do it.

I have no doubt this practical resource will help workers and the children they work with undertake an important journey and learn vital lessons for life. I'm equally sure it will help many parents and carers engage more confidently and effectively in these issues, too." — Donald Findlater, Director of Research and Development, Lucy Faithfull Foundation, Director of Stop it Now! UK & Ireland

"As a package, these are very useful resources for anyone working with children in schools or as support workers in other roles. They can be used as part of intervention strategies with individual children, or as part of wider education programme to help children in schools develop appropriate understanding of their body, touching and other intimate behaviours. This is a highly recommended and practice resource." —Dr. Gayle Dillon. Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University

"The resource provides approaches from a narrative therapy perspective which challenges the dominant perceptions and stories of this group of young people. Strengths based approaches have been found effective in working with young people who display sexually harmful behaviour.
It is pleasing to see some of the established practices developed and delivered over the years, documented within a resource that can be accessed by a wider audience." —
Jackie Bateman, manager, practitioner, international trainer, consultant and writer (co- authored, "Working with Children and Teenagers Using Solution-Focused Approaches" and "Children and Young People Whose Behaviour is Sexually Concerning or Harmful")

"The extensive practice experience of the writers comes through clearly in this guidebook. They portray confidence in their approach to addressing sexually concerning behaviours and their knowledge and experience is well supported by tried and tested practice methods and resources. They draw on a narrative approach to this sensitive and stigmatising area of behaviour; this approach has been established as one that helps to diminish the shame and blame that surrounds responses to the child on the discovery of sexually concerning behaviour. They address issues of consent, permissions, worker safety and safeguarding responsibilities at the outset; the provision of sample templates for obtaining consent is a helpful starting point to collaborative working. The story book that accompanies the guidance is colourful and appealing for both adults and children; the concept of the ‘tingles’ is one of the ways in which the writers help to provide a language for discussing the behaviour and enabling productive conversations about the child’s behaviour. The story book and the introductory sessions provide essential tools for engagement; this initial stage of the helping relationship is one that has been proven to be vital to successful work in this area. Many of the suggested ideas and worksheets for the sessions are based on established methods of direct work with children and it is good to see these creative methods being used and made available in this context. The use of practice examples illustrate how the various methods can and have been used and this helps to demystify this area of work. Although there is a suggested structure for the sessions the writers are mindful of the need for flexibility according to the needs of each child. I loved the use of the activity suggested (on page 44) in response to "don’t know" by the child when they are asked a question. I well remember being challenged by this response on many a carefully planned session. The involvement of parents, carers and the young person’s network that has been proven to be so vital to effective safety planning, is suggested throughout. In summary I found this a well-resourced, easy to read, accessible guide to working with children and their support network in order to develop safer sexual behaviour." — Lorell Webster, Social Work Consultant and Independent Practice Educator

"The resources are child friendly and should enable people to elicit important information from the young person in order to work with them in the best possible way. The resources are centered around a strengths based model which ensures that young people’s strengths are acknowledged rather than simply focusing on their problematic behaviour." — Claire Good, Safer Living Foundation

"This is a very helpful resource for professionals and families working around sexually harmful behaviours and safer sexual behaviours. The package is useful for social workers, foster carers, therapists, and clinical psychologists. The provision of online resources, alongside a book and child’s story book makes the package invaluable. The child’s book – Billy and the tingles - makes sense of the issues from a young person’s perspective, and lets them know what to expect if they engage in therapy. I have already recommended the book and the approach to colleagues." — Dr. Sara Whittaker, Chartered Clinical Psychologist & Team Manager Therapeutic Team, LAACTT



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