Working with violence in children : a developmental and relational perspective

Sadie, Celia and Steckley, Laura and McGinnis, Susan and Sales, Joanna; (2023) Working with violence in children : a developmental and relational perspective. In: The Prevention and Management of Violence : Guidance for Mental Healthcare Professionals. Cambridge University Press (CUP), Cambridge, UK., pp. 202-233. ISBN 9781911623267 (

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This chapter describes our understanding of violence as pain-based behaviour. We give a comprehensive overview of current best practice, NICE guidelines and research in terms of its conceptualisation, assessment, formulation and treatment, preventive and reactive. We describe the specific considerations that need to be taken into account in working with children, in particular their development, the quality of the relationships and systems around them, legal and ethical issues and principles of child-centred practice. The chapter includes an overview of the current UK provision of services, NHS, secure and otherwise, for children whose distress is communicated through violence, with reference to the recent impact of COVID-19. Finally, we take an organizational perspective, looking at the dynamics aroused in individuals, teams and systems in this sphere of work, and describing theory and research that offers help in working through and resolving the difficulties that arise.