ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES ABOUT CHILD ABUSE AND SAFEGUARDING CHLDREN This essay will critically analyse issues and controversies surrounding child abuse. "
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"CRITICALLY ANALYSE ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES ASSOCIATED WITH AN AREA OF CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE OF YOUR CHOICE" ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES ABOUT CHILD ABUSE AND SAFEGUARDING CHLDREN This essay will critically analyse issues and controversies surrounding child abuse. "It is a shared vision that all children should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and that no child slips through the net". This is a quote from the Forward in Every Child Matters the next steps, a green paper, which was published in 2004. This essay will look at child abuse and the point that no child slips through the net. What exactly is the net and how are children in need going to be caught by it and the notion of 'working together'. This essay will discuss all of these points in relation to legislation, policies and procedures. Through out the essay there will be references made to a number of enquiries where children have slipped through the net for a huge number of reasons. The two main cases the essay will converge on will be that of Victoria Climbie and Aliyah Ismail. Both these children tragically died at the hands of abusers. In the case of Victoria Climbie an inquiry was undertaken by Lord Lamming, which led to recommendations for change in the child protection system, many of these changes have been encompassed by the children act 2004. The death of Aliyah Ismail caused widespread attention from the media, some of which will be looked at in this essay.
Victoria was viewed as a child in need and was subject to a section 47. Why Aliyah did not get caught by the safety net. Aliyah's abuse was more on sexual abuse. Perpetrators who use children to satisfy their own wants exploited Aliyah. Aliyah was found dead by her 17-year-old heroin boyfriend Anthony Hughes's. Dr Stephen Chan concluded that Aliyah had taken a massive overdose of methadone of her own violation. He refused to blame anyone. He said that social services were too late, in putting into effect a compulsory care order on Aliyah that they had previously a month earlier decided upon. There was nothing to indicate foul play and he was doubtful that the outcome would have been any different. Death was by misadventure. Aliyah was a young girl who had become mixed up with an older crowd who had got her addicted to drugs and had then announced that she would have to pay for any further supplies. Aliyah was introduced to prostitution. Aliyah was found at the Northwick Park Hospital genito-urinary clinic to have become infected with a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, which included herpes, candida, chlamydia and hepatitis B. In the UK it is illegal for anybody under the age of sixteen to have sex and here was a thirteen-year-old girl whom men were willing to pay for it. Aliyah according to the Children Act 1989 was both a child in need and of safeguarding. The people responsible for her death have still not been brought to justice.
There are concerns on how this system will be policed and whether it will completely overload social services. The new philosophy of the Children Act 2004 is that of prevention is better than cure. Protection is better than none yet prevention is better than cure. The new Act seems to imply that only under privileged families have children who do not reach their full potentials. This is not the case as we saw from Aliyah she came from a wealthy upbringing and still slipped through the net. Abuse seems to occur and not take into account status, religion, colour or ethnic background. The whole notion of 'working together' and 'joined up thinking' is now embedded in social work and social care discourses in the United Kingdom (DOH 1998, Payne 2000). Times change law changes what is regarded today as acceptable may not be tomorrow, but is realistic to expect all children in need to be caught by the child protection net? In looking at the evidence in this essay we can see that Davis states that "social workers will find it difficult to improve on their recent record in prevention: even with regular visiting and close knowledge of a delicate situation, deaths and child abuse will continue to occur. And, however the sequence of events can be thought to have been predictable with the benefits of hindsight, it is foresight that matters. No social worker will ever be able to claim a hundred per cent in that." (1995:42). Working together and prevention have come up time and time again in the Children Act 2004. It is now time to take it forward and see how we can operationalise it in child abuse enquiries.
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