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Touch in educational and child care settings: dilemmas and responses

Piper, Heather and Smith, Hannah (2003) Touch in educational and child care settings: dilemmas and responses. British educational research journal, 29 (6). pp. 879-894. ISSN 1469-3518

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Abstract

This article considers the touching, or rather, not touching, of children and young people in professional settings. Some have argued that many schools and other childcare environments are becoming 'no touch' zones. Formal guidelines in the UK are centrally concerned with 'child protection' issues, and 'force and control', and as such appear more reactive than proactive. From the authors' exploratory studies it has emerged that this is an area where fear and confusion (resulting from a moral panic) have tended to replace a response that is primarily concerned with the caring needs of children. The authors regard this as an area that can no longer be left to chance and suggest that future policy should be informed by research that takes account of the complexities as discussed throughout.

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