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NCJ Number: 201137 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding Communication in Child Protection Networks
Journal: Child Abuse Review  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:March-April 2003  Pages:82-100
Author(s): Peter Reder; Sylvia Duncan
Date Published: March 2003
Page Count: 19
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Noting that reviews of fatal child abuse cases regularly identify communication problems among professionals in child protection networks, this paper examines the nature of and how to improve communication in the context of such cases.
Abstract: "Communication" is defined as "the process by which information is transferred from one person to another and is understood by them." This definition indicates the importance of technical, practical, and linguistic capacities to send and receive messages. This definition also emphasizes that the recipient of a communication must attribute meaning to the message, implying that a number of domains of human psychology impact on the process. Communication is particularly crucial in a network where a number of individuals coordinate action within the network. Coordination is an interagency context within which interprofessional communication can occur; and conversely, communication is a behavioral enactment of the intention to coordinate. In analyzing episodes of communication in the context of coordination, this paper discusses information as a component of relating, meta-communication (when one person transfers a message to another), attributing meaning to messages, the purpose of the communication, and the people communicating. Noting that a number of layers of context impact on any communication episode, this paper also discusses communicating people and their contexts. This discussion contains sections on the individual's working context, interagency relationships, and family-professional relationships. Examples of how context influences communication are also provided from Great Britain's Victoria Climbie Inquiry Report (Lord Laming, 2003). Another section of the paper considers communication and assessment as reciprocal mindsets. The paper then addresses the practical implications of the various concepts of communication previously discussed. It advises that interagency communication would improve if all professionals involved acquired a "communication mindset" as part of their core skills. Training is the key to such improvements. There are a number of training exercises that can improve practitioners' sensitivity to communication phenomena and help them think about what they do. Some of these training exercises are briefly described. 38 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse fatalities; Child abuse investigations; Child death review team; Child protection services; Communication techniques; Communications; Interagency cooperation
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