Bringing girls’ gender identities into children’s rights

dogbod2018, blog

Whilst attending the UN Day of General Discussion in Geneva, I was part of a panel discussion of adults and young people sharing the platform equally, which in itself signified much more than dialogue at the UN level; it was a milestone reflecting a substantial change on the way that children and young people can be positioned in public decision-making.… Read More »

Transferring ECEC to education: does it make a difference?

dogbod2018, blog

Two decades ago England, Scotland and Sweden moved responsibility for all early childhood education and care services (ECEC) and school-aged childcare(SACC) into education. These reforms and their consequences were examined in a cross-national study published in 2004: A New Deal for Children? Re-Forming Education and Care in England, Scotland and Sweden… Read More »

What does ‘home’ mean for children whose parents have separated?

dogbod2018, blog

Home is a familiar yet complex idea. Its meaning extends beyond a physical dwelling to include a feeling of comfort, a sense of control over space, connections with family and other important people, and a site in which rituals and routines create feelings of belonging. A sense of home can be important in helping people build their identity, psychological wellbeing and trust in… Read More »

Time to abandon prevalence studies of childhood sexual abuse?

dogbod2018, blog

by Dr Sarah Nelson CRFR Associate Researcher Dr Sarah Nelson reflects on the problematic issues around prevalence studies of childhood sexual abuse. The wealth of prevalence studies of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) continue to display wildly differing results. Yet the impetus to carry out more studies continues, nationally and internationally. These studies are driven by the demands of commissioners and funders to ‘prove’ need before services are provided or expanded, but also by professional ambition among researchers to be the ones producing a definitive study. Neither of these is a child-centred approach, especially when basic services – as for instance an NSPCC Scotland report recently demonstrated – remain inadequate for the minority of sexually abused children we do know about. I suggest that conventional prevalence studies are largely fruitless, and that greater accuracy about prevalence will come about as a by-product of ethical, child-centred practice against sexual abuse. First of all, while factors like safety and confidentiality, follow-up, inclusion of stigmatised subgroups, and description of acts rather than terms like ‘abuse’ or ‘rape’ will produce more accurate survey findings, we will never approach anything like total accuracy about a secretive, often organised crime overlaid with coercion, shame and silencing. Crucially, … Read More

In a search for competence? Children’s participation in family law proceedings

dogbod2018, blog

I have been on a journey for the few past months, in terms of exploring the underlying reasons why we find it so challenging to involve children and young people in decisions that affect them. Involving children and young people is required by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is frequently promoted by policy, institutional leaders and key practitioners… Read More »

Children’s Participation in Decision-Making: Questioning Competence and Competencies

dogbod2018, blog

Children’s participation rights remain highly dependent on adults, who in one way or another, hold powerful positions such as legal guardians, administrative or political decision-makers, or front-line professionals. The attitudes of such adults towards children and childhood strongly influence whether or not the adults recognise, facilitate and support children’s participation… Read More »

The red flags are everywhere, but nobody can see them

dogbod2018, blog

by Dr Emma Katz Dr Emma Katz argues that Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ glamorises the controlling behaviours used in domestic abuse. Coercive control is a harmful criminal offence, yet it hides in plain sight. Sitting front and centre within our culture, it is performed routinely before our eyes. Coercive and controlling behaviours are glamorised in plotlines where abusers are sexy and romantic bad boys, and women enjoy being dominated and suppressed. It is vital that we challenge these representations, in order to tackle coercive control effectively. The UK has recently taken the bold step of making coercive or controlling behaviour within intimate relationships a criminal offence. This is a breakthrough in our efforts to tackle domestic violence and abuse. Perpetrators can now be prosecuted for controlling their partner’s activities, damaging their partner’s confidence and self-esteem, and isolating them from family and friends. But prosecutions and convictions have so far been disappointingly low, and the majority of police officers have not received training on how to identify coercive and controlling behaviours. This lack of action is partly fuelled by the representation of these behaviours in mainstream Western media. A prime example can be found in the critically-acclaimed Netflix series The Crown, and … Read More

Resilience in early years—continuing the conversation

dogbod2018, blog

by Dr Caralyn Blaisdell Dr Caralyn Blaisdell continues our discussion on the theme of resilience and how this term is being used. “We like to think of childhood as a time of joy and innocence—for many of us it’s just not true.” …so opens the trailer for the Resilience documentary, an American film currently touring through the children’s sector in Scotland. The film is a public service announcement dealing with the “biology of stress and the science of hope”. It explores the ways that exposure to trauma, particularly during childhood, affects a person’s whole being, and looks at associations with future health outcomes. Research suggests that prolonged stress is associated with poorer health outcomes in childhood and adulthood. The film specifically focuses on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study but resonates with a wider body of research—for example, hypotheses about the ‘weathering’ effects on health of chronic stressors such as racism. The tagline for the film is ‘the biology of stress and the science of hope’. It is perhaps the ‘hope’ elements of the documentary that are particularly important to interrogate. The film is from a US context and – perhaps unsurprisingly, given its origin – focuses largely on individualised remedies. … Read More

Resilience – continuing the conversation

dogbod2017, blog

It’s not a surprise that our seminar, ‘The Troubling Concept of Resilience’, received such interest. In recent years, fostering resilience has become a central dimension not only of early years, education and youth policy, but wider social policy and practice. The concept has, arguably, come from a sensible place: research that has sought to understand why, and in… Read More »

Evaluating the Bookbug programme in Scotland

dogbod2017, blog

Bookbug logo

A little yellow bug in red dungarees has become a familiar part of Scottish family life. It’s name – and you will likely know this if you have young children – is Bookbug, and it’s the mascot of Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years programme.… Read More »

‘Trust me, I know exactly how you feel’: Undisclosed thoughts on researching single mums when you are one

dogbod2017, blog

“Yup. Uh huh. Ok… Could you tell me more about that?” This is my side of the interview. I listen intensely, nod my head along, and utter some phrase along these lines. It seems rather monotonous, but it’s necessary. This does several things for me and the other person: it ensures active listening, encourages the conversation to continue, and keeps a flow and rhythm to our interaction.… Read More »

Making rights real for children. What a welcome strapline for Scottish Government’s children’s policy and service reform

dogbod2017, blog

As recognised in the recent seminar series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Scotland, Scotland has made considerable progress in realising children’s rights. But we still have much further to go: for example, in comprehensively recognising all of children’s human rights and in ensuring children and young people’s participation is meaningful… Read More »

Strength and power: autistic pupils and their parents’ experiences of support in secondary school

dogbod2017, blog

In recent years there has been a significant driving force to teach and include autistic pupils in mainstream schools (Humphrey, 2008). Beardon (2017) asserts that it is autism and the environment that equates to the outcome. For example, surroundings can impact on the level of difficulties experienced. Therefore, the focus should be on adapting environments to better … Read More »

Supporting children and families in early childhood: When does community action let the Government off the hook?

dogbod2017, blog

In Tanzania too many people live hand to mouth, as deep and shallow poverty exist side by side. The prevailing belief is that children unite a family, but that they should defer to adults. Until recently young children have been considered by the Government to be the responsibility of the family and not a group that warrants any services beyond health care.… Read More »

Transition, transition, successful transition: What is it anyway?

dogbod2017, blog

Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities go to a lot of effort to make sure that learners have ‘successful transitions’. Similarly, families do their utmost to support children to have successful transitions. But what does ‘successful transition’ mean and from whose perspective? What does transition mean for that matter? … Read More »

When is it safe to disclose childhood sexual abuse?

dogbod2017, blog

There have been on-going efforts to improve the identification of children who have been sexually abused and to encourage disclosures. It is important to consider, however, if disclosing actually promotes well-being and resilience among survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). If it does, how can we promote disclosures, and with that resilience, with children … Read More »

Serious concerns for child protection?

dogbod2017, blog

Several points about the absolute discharge given in Scotland last week by Lady Scott to Daniel Cieslak, who was convicted of raping a 12 year old girl, will greatly concern child protection campaigners for their potentially far-reaching implications.… Read More »

Measuring the impact of the book-gifting programme Bookbug

dogbod2017, blog

Bookbug is the Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years programme, encouraging parents and children to share stories, songs and rhymes from birth. The Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years programme has gifted free bags of books and resources to children in Scotland for many years, and there are Bookbug Sessions taking place every day… Read More »

Maybe he’s caring: responding to disabled women who experience domestic abuse

dogbod2017, blog

by Dr Jenna Breckenridge In this post Dr Jenna Breckenridge (Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh) explores the unique domestic abuse experiences of disabled women and discusses opportunities and challenges for improving the response to this important issue. Disabled women are two times more likely to experience domestic abuse than non-disabled women. A large study of domestic abuse prevalence across Europe (including 28 different countries) found that 50% of disabled women have experienced domestic abuse in their lifetime[1]. Disabled women are four times more likely to experience sexual abuse [2]. On average, disabled women experience abuse for up to 2 years longer than non-disabled women [3]. This is a significant problem in which gender discrimination and the widespread oppression of disabled people, known as disablism, collide. Disablist attitudes portray disabled people as weak and dependent, meaning that perpetrators may perceive disabled women to be easier to control and overpower. Society often portrays disabled women as asexual, undesirable and undeserving of intimate relationships and, as a result, they are often disbelieved when they disclose domestic abuse. This is especially the case when the perpetrator of abuse is also the woman’s main carer. A unique form of abuse Although disabled women experience all … Read More