Higher risks but less protection : the case of deaf and disabled children - a symposia

Stalker, Kirsten (2015) Higher risks but less protection : the case of deaf and disabled children - a symposia. In: New directions in child protection and well-being: making a real difference to children's lives, 2015-04-12 - 2015-04-15, UK. (Unpublished)

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Previous research in the UK and internationally has shown that Deaf and disabled children and young people experience higher rates of abuse and neglect than their non-disabled peers, yet overall receive less attention in child protection systems. Over the last decade, there has been a dearth of research in Britain about the risks faced by Deaf and disabled children and how services respond. This symposium will present the latest findings on this topic from four studies currently in progress, or recently completed, across the UK. It will take a broad ‘social model of disability’ approach, including children and young people with physical, sensory and communication difficulties, those with learning disabilities, mental distress or on the autistic spectrum. The age range covered within the symposium will be 0-26. The studies comprise: • UK-wide research into deaf and disabled children and young people's experiences of help-seeking and views about child protection services, funded by the NSPCC; completion date - December 2014 • A UK-wide exploration of child sexual exploitation in relation to young people with learning disabilities, funded by Comic Relief, running from March 2014 - June 2015 • An examination of child protection practice in Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government and published in April 2014. • Northern Irish research exploring ‘looked after’ disabled children’s contact with the child protection system, funded by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister; completion date - March 2015. Both quantitative (survey) and qualitative (case studies, focus groups and interviews) methods are represented in these studies, as well as literature reviews and policy analysis. Common themes to emerge across the research include the hidden nature of neglect, abuse and exploitation of deaf and disabled children and young people, the importance of seeking their views about appropriate support, a lack of skills and confidence among professionals working with this group, barriers to help-seeking and ways to tackle these. Alongside these challenges, some good practice examples will be highlighted and implications for future policy and practice drawn out.