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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How Social Workers Assess and Manage Risk and Uncertainty
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Chapters 1, 3 and 5 available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND license.

Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse or neglect is a core area of social work practice but knowledge of how social workers make adult safeguarding decisions is limited.

Applying recent sociological and ethnographic research to this area for the first time, this book considers how adult safeguarding practice is developing, with a focus on risk management. The author explores how social workers conduct safeguarding adults assessments, work with multiple agencies and involve service users in risk decisions. The book is essential reading for those wishing to understand how risk and uncertainty are managed within frontline adult social work and how current practice can be improved.

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This chapter concludes by identifying how the findings relate to previous academic work on social work and risk. The chapter revisits some of the key arguments about social work and risk and uses the framework of risk work to give a more nuanced account of how risk knowledge, interventions and social relations affect adult safeguarding practice. The chapter ends by setting out policy and practice recommendations.

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This chapter provides social workers’ accounts of doing adult safeguarding work with service users, family carers and paid carers. It highlights social workers’ understanding and use of risk assessment tools and shows how these were used to document who should take responsibility for measuring and monitoring risks. Social workers indicated the need to ensure service users’ immediate safety when doing adult safeguarding work. They also highlighted difficulties with engaging service users in safeguarding work and conducting this work in the time available. Key aspects of working with service users are highlighted, including explaining adult safeguarding, enabling risk taking, assessing what is important to the person and educating the person about abuse and neglect. Approaches to family carers are described, with social workers emphasising supportive or assertive approaches. Finally, the chapter focuses on how social workers engaged with paid carers in the community or in care homes, showing that safeguarding approaches were predominantly enforced through compliance with paperwork.

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This chapter sets out the case for exploring how social workers understand and manage risk and uncertainty when doing adult safeguarding work. It provides a brief overview of safeguarding duties under the Care Act 2014 and related policy, and explains how the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is relevant. The chapter also describes the ethnographic research methods used in the study and provides details about the social workers and local authorities taking part in the research.

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