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AASW Webinar Recording | Words and Pictures: Empowering children and healing trauma in complex child protection cases

Event Details
Date: Ongoing
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 1.5 hours
CPD Category: 2 - Skills and Knowledge

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Organiser: AASW


[email protected]

(03) 9320 1000


Watch the 1.5 hour recording of AASW's Words and Pictures: Empowering children and healing trauma in complex child protection cases webinar.

Working with vulnerable children requires social workers to engage with many family members and professionals in complex and heart-wrenching circumstances. Social workers may be supporting children to stay at home, to be reunified with their families, or working with those who are in long-term out of home care. In all of these circumstances, the safety and healing of the child depends on strengthening their sense of connection and belonging with their family, community and culture, together with carers they might be living with.

The Words and Pictures methodology is an integral part of safety planning within the Signs of Safety approach to child protection. This methodology uses simple words and stick figures to empower parents to explain complex situations to children without creating blame or shame.

This webinar will introduce participants to Words and Pictures, using case studies to provide a clear understanding of the methodology and its uses. Participants will be empowered to deepen their approach to safety planning, with an emphasis on walking alongside children, families, carers and other professionals in situations of complex child abuse and neglect.

"Very interesting topic and so relevant to our work with families. I found Penny to be very easy to listen to and valued her sharing of knowledge and practical suggestions" – webinar participant, June 2022.

Who should register? Social workers who work with vulnerable children and their families in child protection contexts.

1.5 hours of CPD activity: Category 2, skills and knowledge
AASW Credential: Child protection

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the Words and Pictures methodology and how it contributes to effective safety planning
  • Understand the 14 steps of creating a Words and Pictures explanation with parents
  • Utilise the Words and Pictures methodology to simplify complex messages in situations where children have been abused
  • Identify strategies to actively involve children and families in the safety planning process


Penelope Turnell (B Psych Hons) has 11 years' experience as a government child protection practitioner in Western Australia, working predominantly with vulnerable and at-risk children in remote communities. While working as a child protection practitioner, the statutory agency implemented Signs of Safety as its safety planning model. After using Signs of Safety with her own clients and experiencing its effectiveness in her own practice, Pene became a licensed Signs of Safety trainer and consultant in 2014. In 2019, Pene became the inaugural Executive Director of Signs of Safety Practice at Elia International (the home of Signs of Safety).

The focus of Pene’s work is bringing parents, children and safety networks to the centre of safety planning. Pene is passionate about creating Words and Pictures explanations and rigorous safety plans with parents in the most challenging cases and has learnt many of her skills directly from Susie Essex - the English Family Therapist who created the method. Pene’s training is dynamic, inspiring and practical, grounded in examples of work she has been directly involved in.

Pene now runs her own child protection consultancy practice Turnell Plus. Her primary work focuses on whole system implementations of the Signs of Safety in the Northern Territory, Ireland, and Wungening Moort in Western Australia. Pene has presented her work in Australia, North America, Europe, the UK, and Asia.

Method of delivery

Once you have registered for this recording, all online content is available to view at your convenience via the AASW online on-demand training platform.

Please ensure that your email address is accurate and updated when you register.

Subtitles are available.


The webinar recording duration is 1.5 hours.


This recording can be claimed for CPD purposes, consistent with the CPD Goals and Hours Requirements.

Find out more today about opportunities to have your specialised social work skills recognised.


Members: $90.00 (including GST)
New graduates, retired and student members: $45.00 (including GST)
Non-members: $120.00 (including GST)
Non-member students: $90.00 (including GST)


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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers