The biennial conferences on Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work have reached a new milestone. Running in Belfast since 2010, the 2024 conference will be held in Zurich, Switzerland, 20–21 June. This article describes the journey to date and provides information for those interested in attending future conferences. This short article also includes some reflective comment on the contribution of the Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work conferences to learning and to the research community.
Intimate partner violence is a global problem experienced by all population groups, irrespective of socio-economic, religious and cultural background, and including both women and men. This systematic narrative review synthesises empirical research to draw conclusions on facilitators of, and barriers to, accessing help for victims of intimate partner violence. A search in Scopus, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Medline and PsycInfo conducted in October 2021 identified 864 articles that were independently reviewed to yield 47 relevant studies published between 2011 and 2021 in peer-reviewed journals. The included studies were synthesised using the following headings: (1) personal aspects; (2) family and friends; (3) community factors; (4) referral channels; (5) financial aspects; and (6) service issues. The severity of injury seemed to be a key factor in deciding to seek help. Family and friends were helpful to victims who were looking for support with their relationship and as a support on their journey towards services. A third key finding was that health and care systems are important referral channels for intimate partner violence services. As supports in intimate partner violence develop, consideration is required not only of the trauma of the victim but also how to communicate and facilitate access to help.
This article examines the views of 29 victim survivors (who were part of a larger study) who retrospectively disclosed non-recent child sexual abuse regarding their reasons for disclosure, the child protection and criminal justice responses to them, and the possible ways for improving system responses to address their needs and interests. The reasons for disclosure centred on a desire to pass the burden of the abuse to someone else, to achieve a subjectively defined form of justice and to regain power and control over their lives. Following disclosure, victim survivors often found themselves involved in two forms of investigation: child protection and criminal justice. The findings suggest that criminal justice systems do not adequately address victims’ needs in these circumstances. They often feel marginal to child protection investigations and feel used instrumentally in those proceedings. However, having social workers ‘rattle the cage’ of perpetrators provided comfort for some victim survivors who failed to get justice through criminal justice mechanisms. Based on the research presented in this study, it is suggested that restorative justice may have something to offer as part of the response to non-recent disclosures of child sexual abuse as part of both criminal justice and child protection investigations and processes.
It can be difficult for researchers to access research participants from vulnerable populations. Focusing on the single victim interviewee recruited for my human trafficking-related research, this article will examine the method employed to conduct research with her, which I term ‘case study by proxy’: a new hybrid qualitative methodological approach combining elements of the case study and interview by proxy methods. This may prove to be a valuable methodological tool for researchers studying vulnerable populations.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the early cessation of practice learning opportunities for social work students across Northern Ireland and an expedited graduation to enable them to join the workforce. The article reports on a small-scale service evaluation of the Assessed Year in Employment Mentoring Programme in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. The programme provided additional support to newly qualified social workers as they transitioned from student to professional. Focus groups facilitated with 11 Assessed Year in Employment social workers highlighted the positive impact of mentoring, with emphasis on the importance of formal, accessible and effective organisational support during the transitional period. Recommendations call for continued facilitation of mentoring for future cohorts of Assessed Year in Employment social workers in order to cultivate a supportive organisational climate and strengthen the workforce.
Over recent decades, ‘social innovation’ has become a buzzword. The term breathes progress and promising improvements but often stays rather theoretical instead of bringing real social change. In this article, the meaning of social innovation in the context of social work and social work research is explored, as well as how social work research can contribute to social innovation. It is argued that if social innovation is defined properly and connected with the values expressed in the international definition of social work, it can strengthen the identity and impact of social work and social work research. Social quality is presented as a theoretical framework that fits well for positioning social work research aimed at innovation. Enhancing social quality can be done in many ways, such as revealing the causes and mechanisms of social exclusion, supporting change processes by monitoring and evaluation, or co-creating better solutions by using action and design research methods.
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on using art as an approach in the field of social work. This article examines how painting art can become a valuable tool for communication and social participation for children who suffer from environmental challenges at school and in their upbringing environment. The research is in collaboration with Peacepainting, which uses art painting workshops worldwide to work for equality and peace. Within the framework of social work, we explore painting art as a tool for communication and artistic activity as a social-learning process developed through modes of belonging in a community of practice. Through fieldwork consisting of observation of painting processes, the children’s participation in the workshop and individual interviews with children and instructors, the empirical findings show that artwork provided the children opportunities to experience themselves in new ways through visual expression, which increased their self-confidence. The findings show that painting workshops have the potential to be a changemaker in society and an essential tool in social work practice, creating individual learning processes for the participants, establishing a community for inclusion of exposed groups and contributing to changing the processes of established structural institutions, such as schools, welfare services and the local municipality.
At the latest since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, children worldwide have been regarded as persons with their own special rights. These include rights that are intended to protect them and influence decisions that affect them. But how far these so-called participation rights go and whether they also include political rights is disputed. They oppose social structures that nail children down to a subordinate position, which today is subsumed under the term adultism, the meaning of which is explained at the beginning of the chapter. In this chapter it is discussed, especially with regard to children of the Global South, how far political rights, especially the right of children to vote, can contribute to counteracting adultism as a form of the colonization of children. This question is discussed not only in relation to children living today, but also in relation to future generations and intergenerational justice.
Children in the Global South continue to be affected by social disadvantage in our unequal post-colonial world order. With a focus on working-class children in Latin America, this book explores the challenges of promoting children’s rights in a decolonizing context.
Liebel and colleagues give insights into the political lives of children and demonstrate ways in which the concept of children’s rights can be made meaningful at the grassroots level. Looking to the future, they consider how collaborative research with children can counteract their marginalization and oppression in society.