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Emotional cruelty to children to become a criminal offence - UK parliament debates introducing the ‘Cinderella Law'. Research we have undertaken over many years at the CATS centre clearly shows that emotional abuse in childhood and adolescence, creates lasting damage in terms of psychological disorder... (read the full response here).


Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) Interview

ceca1 The CECA is a measure of childhood and adolescent experience of neglect and abuse, developed and used over a 20 year period. It original use was by researchers (e.g. the team at Lifespan) to investigate lifetime risk factors for psychological disorder. It has been used by a number of teams in the UK and internationally and is available in other languages).  It has 2 formats and training procedures:


CECA for Forensic & Clinical Psychologists (2 day training)

As an interview it can establish retrospective accounts of childhood from young people and adults. It identifies etiological factors important in common mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety and encompasses both psychosocial risk and resilience factors. The CECA takes the form of a semi-structured interview, which aims to reflect objective features of early life experience with probing questions to ascertain details of context and time-sequence of experience. The CECA 2-day training is for psychologist, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and related professionals who need to assess childhood experience retrospectively in relation to practice. The method can also be used for summarising case material.

Next CECA training dates: tbc (or contact us to arrange on-site team training)
Location: Middlesex University, Hendon, North London.
Fee: £400 per person (2 day training)

For detailed information on CECA measure in research, forensic or clinical settings visit www.cecainterview.com.


CECA for Safeguarding – reports and chronologies

There is increasing need for standardised means of assessing abuse in families to help with Safeguarding services. This is particularly highlighted by the new Public Law Outline (PLO) which requires reduction in delays for applications for care or supervisions from ‘application to disposal’. Tools that can aid with assessing and analysing the range and severity of abuse or negative parenting experiences can therefore aid best practice in the interest of children and families. Such tools are also useful in the Integrated Children’s System to summarise or quantify characteristics of abuse for the Core Assessment. The CECA rating scales and definitions can be useful for such purposes as well as for aiding assessment in Parenting Support programmes.

Neglect (1 day) This workshop for social workers and related professionals will provide operational definitions of parental care and neglect as well as ‘antipathy’ or hostile parenting. Neglect is defined in relation to material care; regular household routines; health & hygiene; socialisation: neglect of friendships, school work, career options emotional needs & support. The scale provides a reliable assessment of severity and chronicity of neglect to differentiate Child in Need from Child Protection concerns. It is differentiated from emotional abuse or ‘antipathy’ (cold or hostile parenting) which is also defined. Assessment and analysis of neglect in practice contexts will be discussed and how to use the scale as part of a court chronology. £150 per person.

Psychological Abuse (1 day) The workshop for social workers and related professions will examine definitions of emotional abuse, and differentiate between hostile parenting and the more sadistic behaviours constituting the most severe abuses. These include humiliation, terrorising, exploiting and corrupting behaviour. The association between psychological abuse and other abuses will be examined in the form of ‘complex abuse’. Assessment and analysis of psychological abuse in practice contexts will be discussed and as part of court chronologies. Course fee £150 per person.

Discount on attending both workshops: £125 per day. For more information or to book a place contact us at lifespantraining@mdx.ac.uk.

Download flier for detailed information
on CECA workshops for Safeguarding.

CECA measure has recently been successfully introduced to the Safeguarding and ‘Looked After’ Services to help social workers in their assessments of children and families at risk. Workers received training in rating CECA experience in neglect, role reversal, physical, psychological abuse and related experience. CECA can then be used to inform ongoing cases in Child Protection, Child in Need and Looked After Services, enhancing the assessments of complex cases by providing benchmarked severity ratings and clarity of definitions. This can help the social workers and courts to decide on, or confirm, care planning.


rbkThe ‘Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse Interview’ for Child Safeguarding practitioners: An evaluation in RB Kingston Safeguarding Services
Professor Antonia Bifulco & Catherine Jacobs, 2010
Read project executive summary report (full report available on request)


The Questionnaire: CECA.Q

A brief self-report version has been validated against the interview. This assesses loss of parents, neglect, antipathy from main carers and physical and sexual abuse. Support in childhood is also included. The measure shows acceptable sensitivity and specificity against the interview measure, and published cut-off scores are available. The CECA.Q has been translated into a number of languages (eg Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese) and has been used in Europe, USA, Canada, South America and the Far East. The measure is significantly associated with both the Parental Bonding Instrument and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire3, but has wider coverage of maltreatment, shows a dose-response effect in relation to lifetime clinical depression and has improved improved prediction of disorder.

CECA Questionnaire (CECA.Q) is a brief self-report version that has been validated against the interview. This assesses loss of parents, neglect, antipathy from main carers and physical and sexual abuse. Support in childhood is also included.
Download CECA Questionnaire here.

CECA.Q3 is a version of the original CECA Questionnaire that offers additional sections of psychological abuse and role reversal. These are included in the later version because of their key relationship to later depression and self-harm behaviour in adolescents.
Download CECA Questionnaire - with Psychological Abuse and Role Reversal (CECA.Q3) here.

Download CECA Questionnaire Scoring guide here.


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