University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages121
JournalSAGE Open
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2016


This article presents findings from a survey of the experiences of child protection workers in England when working with parents who exhibit aggression and violence. This work explores the effects on workers in their professional lives, and on themselves and their families in their private lives. The article examines workers’ thoughts and experiences about the effects
of parental hostility on workers’ ability to protect children. The article also details workers’ experiences of the nature and effectiveness of training and support in this area. These findings are then examined in the light of the results of an analysis of the literature, including the findings from serious case review (SCR) reports in England (official inquiries into the causes of child deaths where the children are known to social and health services). The majority of the 590 respondents in the survey were social workers (n = 402; 68%), reflecting the fact that case management of child protection cases in the United Kingdom is the responsibility of social workers working in statutory agencies. This article addresses, from a consideration of the secondary analysis and the original research findings from the survey, how individual workers, managers, and agencies can best understand and then respond effectively to aggressive parental behaviors.


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