7. Effective practice when working with children with a disability
- Disability is disproportionately associated with all forms of abuse, particularly emotional abuse and neglect. Children with particular impairments are at increased risk.
- There is little evidence about how disabled children are protected and safeguarded in the UK, but the available research suggests there is a tendency for child protection services to deprioritise the abuse of disabled children. Cases of abuse involving disabled children, for example, are less likely to go to court. The reasons for this are not yet understood.
- More accessible ways for disabled children to disclose abuse should be made and staff should be encouraged to use tested materials and expert opinion.
- Policy guidance and frameworks should alert staff to the additional needs, barriers and impairments of disabled children.
- More joint working is needed between child disability and child protection teams including secondment, dual specialisation and joint training.
Stalker and McCarthur, 2010; Stalker et al, 2010