Tag Archives: loss
Only one argument!
Sometimes in this job you have a week that is like no other you have experienced before and for me this is an important subtle reminder that you can never make any assumptions in social work. It is also a gentle reminder that life is precious and should be treated with respect, and maybe I am growing softer with age – as this week I feel like I have been left with a hole in my heart.
Cases of domestic violence still remain very common in the work that we do, the impact this has on the children is incredibly damaging and in the worse case be life changing. Especially, if the worse case scenario happens and one of the parents is killed by the other leaving the children without their parents and no understanding why or how this could happen. Even at the lower end of domestic abuse the impact on the child\ren is still significant with often multiple home moves to avoid violent adults, school changes, emotional harm from hearing or witnessing Domestic abuse, learning behaviour that is not acceptable, physical harm.
Domestic violence is defined as
“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.”
However, in order to support this Local Authorities hold a ‘MARAC’ (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference). Which is as it sounds a commitment of all the agency’s to create a risk assessment and plan to safeguard the most vulnerable women subjected to domestic violence. A meeting that lists the horrors committed and left me truly speechless and concerned by the levels of domestic violence that still takes place on a very regular occurrence.
This article shows that the levels of domestic violence is falling and why are we not celebrating this news? because like me it questions whether as a society whether we have a grip of domestic violence, that many of the stereotypes still exists looking at the history of the victim to look at reasons why they may have been attacked or could be blamed for the attack. Or more importantly because domestic violence is more commonly known that the victims involved keep quiet fearing that they will be punished for their abuse or denying the impact upon themselves.
It is positive to hear that prosecution rates are increasing and maybe because some areas are developing their multi agency approach to include opening special courts to ensure that protection is provided to the victim and alleged perpetrator. Domestic violence is not just a local problem but a global problem and can affect any family at any time and only needs to happen once for the damage to be final and tragic.
So for me this week helping one family put their lives together after their loss has been a hard challenge, both emotionally as a parent but also making the assessment of risk and keeping the child at the centre of any plans. Whilst also sensitively working with a family who are grieving at their loss, without wanting to intrude any more than necessary during an emotional time for everyone.
So if you need help and advice about Domestic violence visit the National Domestic Violence Helpline for information and guidance.
For me the issue of Domestic Violence needs to remain at the top of priorities for all professionals and should never be accepted or brushed under the carpet. Although the numbers of prosecutions are rising so are the numbers of incidents with many never being reported or recorded. With services being cut and housing issues rising, this further makes this situation difficult for many victims to report their concerns. As professionals we need to continue to work together in a multi agency approach and listen to concerns raised during our assessments even if at a very low level of concern to protect from this escalating further.
‘Decisions and impact’
Its hard sometimes to remember childhood, I look back and there are still some things that I remember well and others when I hear about them I laugh because I have no recollection of them. However, for children and children in care the issue is not about remembering but living their childhood.
More importantly that as adults we can make life changing decisions for ourselves and our children, often without thinking about them. As a parent it is hard when faced with making a decision that is important whilst considering the impact upon your child. Significantly for some people being able to understand the impact of your decision making upon your child is impaired due to your own childhood experiences or substance misuse or violent relationships. But perhaps more commonly now is the impact of the austerity cuts where low income families are forced to make decisions that increasingly leave their children at risk.
It has often be presented that social workers have forgotten these challenges and this can easily be understood as the tick box culture has been developed to prevent errors and mistakes. Instead the talking part of social work has been lost, the time that families need to unpick their understanding of the situation they are in. Furthermore simple but effective services are cut and removed from these vulnerable families forcing them to either sink or swim.
Lets not forget though that for Children’s services it is the children that are important, and for that any small change for children can have a massive impact upon their development. A change in school could mean a loss of a friend or supportive teacher, a change of home frequently could cause many difficulty’s relating to attachments and feeling settled and having a sense of belonging. Lets not forget as social workers or parents that Children need to understand the events that are happening in their life in order to make sense of it.
Mixed messages from parents and or professionals can leave the child in turmoil, feeling confused and unsure often causing these anxieties to be acted out through behaviour. Behaviour which then can lead to the child or young person being excluded from their school, friends, family and then increasing their risk of vulnerability.
Its easy to forget as adults that it is our responsibility to be responsible for this, not to draw the attention to our needs rather than the needs of the children that are in our care. To raise awareness of the impact of the serious nature of the cuts made by the government that looks to early intervention to reduce the long term care needs and budget demands on the Local Authority’s.
Instead I fear that the impact will be far worse that where you can see this sign
and continue to see this sign then there will always be a danger that without a serious investment in to social care and the voluntary agency’s that support vulnerable families and children that this will continue to be a major concern.
“Article 3 (Best interests of the child): The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers. ”
So Mr Gove in the government that does not focus on the rights of the Child, perhaps it is time that this is the change that is enforced. Stop looking else where for the blame, start to implement the concepts of basic rights for children in legislation and policy and lets prevent children from experience loss.