Relating to children in social work and child protection is always nonverbal as well as verbal. The younger the child, the less scope there is to conduct discussion-based interviews and the more the child or infant must be heard to speak, as it were, through their body. On top of gathering the parents’/carers’ views of the child, communication must go on through observation of the child and touch. Touch has, in many respects, become deeply problematic and even taboo in working with children and this chapter argues for the importance of touch in child protection work. I distinguish medical examinations from what I call ‘professional touch’, which should be considered a routine part of day-to-day practice that keeps children safe.
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- The importance of touch in protecting children
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