‘If I feel like this, how does the child feel?’ Child protection workers, supervision, management and organisational responses to parental violence

Susan Hunt, Chris Goddard, Judy Cooper, Brian Littlechild, Jim Wild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
158 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study analysed workers’ experiences of supervision following interactions with hostile and intimidating parents. This analysis examined management and organisational responses to worker stress, and assessed the adequacy of support that workers received. An online survey was designed to collect data on workers’ experiences and free text responses were qualitatively analysed for references to the supervision they received in response to working with parents. 590 participants responded to the survey. 402 were qualified social workers, and 423 worked in child protection. Participants had experienced a range of violent behaviour from parents. The overwhelming theme in responses was the lack of support and supervision workers received, often in stressful and frightening circumstances. Approximately one quarter of participants only used organisational procedures, guidelines or protocols on dealing with hostile parents. Workers reported that mismanaged parental hostility affected their practice and the quality of protection that children received. The violence experienced had a significant negative impact on their personal and professional lives. Organisational responses in the form of supervision and education were often inadequate and resulted in children receiving reduced quality of protection. Recommendations for policy and practice change are discussed, with the aim of caring for workers and the children they protect
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Volume30
Issue number1
Early online date14 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • child protection workers
  • parents
  • supervision
  • management response
  • child abuse
  • best practice
  • violence

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