Journal Article

The Nature and Effects of Violence against Child-Protection Social Workers: Providing Effective Support

Brian Littlechild

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 3, pages 387-401
Published in print April 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch188
The Nature and Effects of Violence against Child-Protection Social Workers: Providing Effective Support

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This article examines the experiences and views of child-protection social workers and managers in relation to the management of violence against child-protection social workers in a large county council’s Social Services Department. These findings demonstrate the importance of the role of managers and agency support systems in dealing with such matters. Questions are raised concerning the effects of interventions by child-protection professionals with resistant and threatening parent service-users, and challenges some of the assumptions underlying the current paradigm in child-protection work which demands an uncritical view that working in partnership with parents is always in the interests of children, and is always possible. The findings suggest that in certain types of situations, workers’ effectiveness can be compromised when carrying out their roles in both supporting families and protecting children. They also illustrate the types of agency responses which professionals and managers find helpful and unhelpful in response to parental threats and aggression. In particular, the importance of supervision and support from managers is addressed, as are the implications of the findings for practice and agency support strategies for workers. The relevance of the findings are also set out within the context of the requirements placed upon individual practitioners and agencies which employ social workers by the General Social Care Council Codes of Conduct and Practice for Social Care Workers and their Employers.

Keywords: violence; staff support; child protection

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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