Rachel Robbins, Kate Cook; ‘Don’t Even Get Us Started on Social Workers’: Domestic Violence, Social Work and Trust—An Anecdote from Research, The British Journal of Social Work bcx125 https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcx125
This is a must read article for all social workers!
It provides good insight into the benefits of the Freedom Programme for mothers who have experienced domestic violence in a socially deprived area in the north of England.
Some key points
• Mothers experience social workers as ‘problematising’ them and lacking understanding or taking the time to understand their needs and the situation.
• How difficult it is to achieve trust between mothers and social workers (and the various reasons for this).
• The importance of alliances between social workers and voluntary sector agencies.
• The contrast between the statutory focus on child protection, risk and investigation and the voluntary sector focus on welfare and rights of women.
• The tendency for the social work response to focus on safeguarding rather than family support.
• How children’s services’ involvement can mirror the coercive control the woman already experiences from her partner.
• The impact of economic inequalities.
• The need for social workers to navigate services to support families.
• How social workers are primarily seen as a threat but can open up access to support.
A practical tip for social workers:
Remember: mothers may need for support with travel expenses and childcare help when mandated to attend programmes such as the Freedom Programme.
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