International Projects > Russia
Background to the guide
This guide was produced as part of the Assisting
Bereaved Children in St. Petersburg Project, run by the
Childrens Legal Centre, Colchester, UK, and the
Institute of Special Pedagogics and Psychology, St.
Petersburg, Russia. The project was funded by the
Department for International Development (UK) through the
Health and Social Care Partnerships Scheme.
The 17-month project focussed on the problems facing
children, whose parents were being provided with care by
one of the eight hospices in St. Petersburg. It was found
that the majority of children and their families are not
receiving the practical and psychological assistance that
they need. The absence of such assistance inevitably leads
to a high frequency of family breakdown and the
institutionalisation of children.
It was also found that the majority of staff and volunteers
at the hospices do not receive training in how to work
with bereaved children to address their psychological and
emotional needs. However, the lack of training on
bereavement is not confined to Hospice workers but exists
in all sectors that work directly with children. The guide
seeks to plug this gap in knowledge and provide staff and
volunteers working with bereaved children with a good
understanding of the process of grief.
The guide details how to assist children cope with bereavement and support them through their experience in a way that is sensitive, individual and validating rather than in a way that pathologises a childs experience. The guide also explains how to develop appropriate support and services.
Who is the guide for?
The guide is aimed at all staff
and volunteers (also referred to as helpers and
workers in the guide) working with and coming into
contact with children who have been bereaved. The guide is
not intended to be definitive but aims to provide clear
and accessible information, and practical assistance.
The guide is divided into four
1 - Attachment and Emotional Resilience provides basic information on
child development, attachment theory and emotional
2 - Understanding Loss and Reaction to Death focuses on models of
grief, the different reactions in adults and children to
grief, and complicated grief reaction
3 - What You Can Do provides the reader with practical advice on how to
approach and work with children pre and post bereavement
both individually and in groups, and how to work with
parents, families and schools
4 - Grief Support Programmes outlines the principles behind structured programmes
to assist children in dealing with their grief, and sets
out how to establish, run and staff grief support
provide additional detailed information to assist in
engaging in practical work with bereaved children:
Annex 1 - Emotional
Annex 2 - Information sheets for supporting bereaved children
Annex 3 - What you can do practical ideas
Annex 4 - Case studies
Annex 5 - Grief Support Programme
Maureen Bunce is the Service Manager for Child
and Adolescent Mental Health for Essex County Council, UK,
and a psychotherapist.
Anna Rickards is a Family Support Social
Worker at St. Helena Hospice in Colchester, Essex, UK and
has been providing individual support and assisting in
running Family Grief Support Programmes for four years.
The guide was edited by Rachel Harvey, Programme Manager of the Assisting Bereaved Children in St. Petersburg project and Assistant Director of International Policy and Programmes at the Childrens Legal Centre.
The Childrens Legal Centre would like to thank Maureen Bunce and Anna Rickards for all the time, effort and energy that they have put into the project in their role as consultants and trainers, and into making this guide a reality. The Centre would also like to express its gratitude to Essex County Council, St. Helena Hospice and the staff at Health and Life Sciences Partnership (HLSP) for their support throughout this project. Finally, the Centre is very grateful to the Ministry of Education in Russia for organising the production of the guide and its distribution throughout Russia.
Children's Legal Centre, 2004
Working With Bereaved Children guide can be downloaded free of charge. It is available in two formats, word and pdf, and two languages, English and Russian.
(c) 1999- The Children and Armed Conflict Unit