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  • Author or Editor: kylie valentine x
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This chapter focuses on issues for parents of disabled children in reconciling work and care in Australia and England. It considers the prevalence of disability among children and points out that in both countries almost all children with disabilities live with their parents. The chapter highlights the financial difficulties many parents face when raising a disabled child, noting that in their case parental financial and caring investments often involve life-long commitments to their child’s wellbeing, and the impact their care frequently has on their opportunities to participate in paid work. The chapter shows that women are particularly affected by work-care reconciliation difficulties in such families, which often find that the services and support their children need are offered in ways which make combining work and care difficult. Attention is drawn to the shifting policy agenda affecting families with disabled children in both countries, which includes both improvements in and risks for, these families in changing socio-economic contexts. While in both countries parents in these families have been accorded some employment rights in recognition of their additional needs, they are still left at a significant economic and labour market disadvantage compared with other parents.

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Background:

The paper draws on empirical evidence from a project investigating service responses to disabled women and children experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV). Service provision in these sectors is often rationed due to resource constraints, and increasingly marketised, and disabled people often do not have their needs met. Their opportunities for participation in policy and practice are also constrained.

Aims and objectives:

Our aim is to bring critical studies of intersectionality into dialogue with ‘evidence-making’ scholarship on policy implementation, to allow for new analyses of the inclusion of lived experience expertise in policy.

We ask:

What are the potential drivers for new forms of practice and evidence making in policy and service settings?

Methods:

The multi-method study comprised literature and policy review and qualitative research about the experience and implementation of an early intervention violence prevention support programme. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with mothers (n=27) and children (n=7), and service providers (n=28).

Findings:

Many mothers did not identify as disabled, although they discussed the effects of impairment. However, children were all diagnosed, and diagnosis was a means of accessing funding and services. The service was focused on brokering responses to family needs, and formal participation mechanisms for clients were not prioritised.

Discussion and conclusion:

Resource constraints and workforce capacity are ongoing concerns in the disability and violence prevention sectors. Relationships that facilitate trust, agency and choice remain key. Insights from critical policy scholarship suggest opportunities to recognise existing relationships as participation, with implications for policy and practice.

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There is evidence that technological devices such as personal safety alarms and security cameras can be effective in contributing to an increased sense of safety for victims of domestic and family violence, when they are provided as part of a broader programme of support. This article reports on findings from a mixed methods evaluation of a programme trialled in Queensland, Australia. The programme was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services as part of the Keeping Women Safe in Their Home initiative. The trial was comprised of two components: the provision of personal safety alarms and security cameras to victims, and the resourcing of service providers to identify and respond to technology-facilitated abuse experienced by their clients. The findings from the evaluation of the trial contribute to an emerging evidence base on technology as a means to support and increase the safety of victims of violence. The findings also contribute to evidence on the capacity of the sector to respond to the use of technology to harass, monitor and stalk victims.

There are benefits to clients and service providers from the innovative use of technology as part of a holistic and flexible domestic and family violence service response to meet the needs of victims, including those who wish to remain in their home. However, service providers in the trial felt less confident in supporting victims of technology-facilitated abuse. The limited uptake of strategies provided to assess and monitor technology-facilitated abuse indicates that support workers in the domestic violence sector would benefit from capacity building in this area. Better data and more research are needed to understand how technology is used to facilitate abuse and how services can implement effective responses to technology-facilitated abuse.

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When young women who have grown up in contact with child protection become mothers, they shift from being regarded as a child ‘at risk’ by the child protection system, to posing ‘a risk’ to their baby. In contrast to their peers, young care leavers transition to adulthood with very few resources and little support; they typically continue to experience the economic and related adversities of their childhoods. This article draws on biographical narrative interviews with young Australian mothers to understand how they navigate child protection as new mothers. We argue that, while inequalities endure, new understandings of the system can be acquired and dispositions can adapt to function more effectively in the field of child protection. We draw on Bourdieu’s notions of capital, habitus and field to analyse young mothers' adaptations, with additional insights from Hester’s analogy of separate planets to explore their experiences of the field of child protection.

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The role of carers in supporting people with HIV is largely hidden in Western countries in the contemporary era of antiretroviral treatments. Little is known about their needs. A scoping review was undertaken to describe the research available on the needs of this group and identify gaps in existing knowledge. Findings reveal that carers of people with HIV have similar needs to other carers but are currently mostly invisible to support services. The article suggests that the discourse of independence underpinning the new HIV treatment era may be difficult for carers to ‘disrupt’ by naming what they do as ‘care’.

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When young women who have grown up in contact with child protection become mothers, they shift from being regarded as a child ‘at risk’ by the child protection system, to posing ‘a risk’ to their baby. In contrast to their peers, young care leavers transition to adulthood with very few resources and little support; they typically continue to experience the economic and related adversities of their childhoods. This article draws on biographical narrative interviews with young Australian mothers to understand how they navigate child protection as new mothers. We argue that, while inequalities endure, new understandings of the system can be acquired and dispositions can adapt to function more effectively in the field of child protection. We draw on Bourdieu’s notions of capital, habitus and field to analyse young mothers' adaptations, with additional insights from Hester’s analogy of separate planets to explore their experiences of the field of child protection.

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