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Open AccessArticle

Trust and Distrust: Listening to Children about Their Relationships with Professionals

School of Education, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(9), 251;
Received: 13 June 2019 / Revised: 12 August 2019 / Accepted: 26 August 2019 / Published: 3 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Society)
This article explores trust in children’s relationships with professionals in the context of safeguarding concerns. With exception, existing research with children about trust in professionals often fails to unpick trust. Using sociological conceptualisations of trust, most often considered in relation to adults, this article unravels this complex concept. It arrives at a conception of trust as socially situated, an attribute of relationships, and a combination of interpretation (knowledge and experience) and faith. This conceptualization of trust is examined in the context of interview accounts from children that were aged 8–10 in an English primary school. Interviews invited their perspectives on three fictional vignettes about peer conflict, domestic abuse, and child sexual abuse. My analysis, although small-scale, argues that focusing on the process of trust in children’s professional relationships and the social, cultural, political, and relational contexts that shape this process, is a lucrative way to gain enhanced understandings of how trust is generated and what facilitates and undermines trust. It sheds light on children’s interpretations of existing relationships and imagined interactions with professionals, revealing the knowledge that they hold and what they do not yet, or cannot know, and how this knowledge (or lack of) influences their trust. This analysis is socially situated attending to children’s biographies, which offers insights that provide good grounds for improving children’s relationships with professionals. View Full-Text
Keywords: children; trust; distrust; professional relationships; safeguarding; biographies children; trust; distrust; professional relationships; safeguarding; biographies
MDPI and ACS Style

Davies, H. Trust and Distrust: Listening to Children about Their Relationships with Professionals. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 251.

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