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Critically Discuss the role of social work in relation to protecting children from sexual abuse.

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Critically Discuss the role of social work in relation to protecting children from sexual abuse. Over the decades the prevalence of child abuse has been phenomenal. Throughout Britain the abuse of children is an issue which is no longer hidden or covered up, not a week goes by where a newspaper doesn't report the beating of a young child, the neglect of another or the arrest of a paedophile. These stories have always existed, from Cleveland to Fred West. The public reacts to these stories, asking why no-one stopped it? Child abuse is a huge arena and so I am going to concentrate on Sexual abuse and I intend to look at what it is that the social worker does in dealing with child sexual abuse. For many, it has taken decades to admit that child sexual abuse exists, in the past it has been brushed off has childhood fantasy or a misunderstanding. Today however, the sexual abuse of children is taken very seriously. I am going to take a look at some of the laws and policies followed by social workers dealing with sexual abuse cases or suspected cases of sexual abuse. Also, the involvement of the social worker in treating victims, I will take a look at the media representation of social work and also a look at a few cases. ...read more.


For older children, it is more likely that the sense of betrayal and shame associated with having been abused will cause psychological problems, such as depression, self harm, suicide attempts and severe social isolation. In recognizing any of the above behaviours, parents, teachers, relatives, family friends, doctors, nurses etc have a responsibility to refer the child in order to identify and uncover the abuse so that the child may be protected from further abuse or danger. Allegations of child abuse eventually arrive on the desks of local authority social workers whose legal obligation is to investigate. When taking referrals of sexual abuse there are seven main lines of inquiry which should be taken by the social worker responsible, they are; * The abuse, or observation/ indicators suggestive of abuse. * Who the perpetrator is and what is known about him/her. * What is known of the circumstances surrounding the abuse. * What is known about the general standard of care provided by the parents, and about the parents/carers themselves. * Is the child and/or parent aware that a referral is being made to social services? If not, why not? * The general health of the child: what observations, knowledge, etc, can be elicited about the childs emotional social, physical, psychological and social life. ...read more.


The social worker is involved in the reviews of this plan in order to determine whether or not the child is still at risk, needs more support, etc. "The social services, of course, always have a thankless task. If they are over cautious and take children away fro their families they are pilloried for doing so. If they do not take such action and do not take a child away from its family, and something terrible happens to the child, then likewise, they are pilloried; so it is a very difficult position they find themselves in." (Mr. Justice Hollis, quoted in the Cleveland report, Secretary of state for social services, 1988, P.85). In 1997, The national commission of inquiry into the prevention of child abuse Survey of over 1000 social workers it was found that 86% of respondents did not feel that their social work training prepared them for dealing with the prevention of child abuse. In Social work with children and families, the following advice is given when responding to child abuse, to listen, be supportive, don't judge, don't make promises that cannot be kept and don't dither in reporting any concerns. There are however no simple checklists that can be applied when trying to determine whether or not abuse is taking place and there are no easy steps that can be taken to make it go away or magically get better. Keeley Hilton. CSS304 Social Work with Children and Families 1 ...read more.

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