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‘I just assumed that it would be important to maintain a bond’: Social worker decision making regarding living and contact arrangements in cases of sibling incest.

Event Name ‘I just assumed that it would be important to maintain a bond’: Social worker decision making regarding living and contact arrangements in cases of sibling incest.
Start Date 1st Mar 2017 2:00pm
End Date 1st Mar 2017 4:00pm
Duration 2 hours
Description

Dr. Peter Yates (E-mail: p.yates@napier.ac.uk) is a lecturer in child and public protection at Edinburgh Napier University. He is a qualified social worker with over ten years’ experience of child protection, having worked in a children and families practice team in Edinburgh followed by four years as a senior practitioner with Barnardo’s Lighthouse, a specialist service for children who display harmful sexual behaviour. Peter’s research interests have largely derived from this experience, and he completed a PhD in April 2015 on the subject of sibling sexual abuse.

Somewhere between a third and a half of sexual abuse perpetrated by children and young people involves siblings as victims. These cases raise particularly difficult challenges for social workers in terms of deciding whether or not the siblings can remain living together following the abuse becoming known, if separated whether they can maintain contact with each other, and at what point they may return to live together again. Which child’s welfare should be our paramount concern? How do we choose between the needs of two children?

This seminar will present an overview of the current literature on sibling sexual abuse relevant to these questions, before exploring selected findings from recently completed doctoral study of social workers’ accounts of their decision making in this area of practice. In-depth interviews with 21 social workers were conducted across 6 local authorities in Scotland, discussing their decision making with regards to a total of 54 children who had been involved in sibling sexual behaviour. This grounded theory study found that within the context of considerable uncertainty, social workers made largely intuitive decisions influenced by their relationships with families and by their underlying ‘frames’: children as vulnerable and intending no sexual harm to others; sibling relationships as non-abusive and of intrinsic value; and parents as well-intentioned protective. The seminar will explore the implications of these findings and conclude with recommendations for practice.

Tickets are free but please book at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/i-just-assumed-that-it-would-be-important-to-maintain-a-bond-social-worker-decision-making-tickets-31991175467  

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