Social worker experience of fatal child abuse : An interpretive phenomenological analysis.

POLLARD, Lee W. (2014). Social worker experience of fatal child abuse : An interpretive phenomenological analysis. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This research project is an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of the lived experiences of four social work practitioners who have been directly involved in cases of fatal child abuse. Through the use of semi-structured interviews, detailed narrative and hermeneutic analysis, the research examines how the tragedies impacted upon the workers in both personal and professional capacities and locates those experiences within the relevant organisational context. Within the research, the workers recount their experiences relating to such issues as the support and supervision they received following the children's deaths, their experiences of the review process and the short and longer term impact of the deaths upon their social work practice and their personal relationships.Analysis of the workers' accounts reveals that all were significantly affected in different ways by the tragedies; however their emotional and support needs were largely ignored by the organisations in which they practiced. Although there are some examples of good practice, it is apparent that on a number of occasions the needs of the organisation were prioritised above the individual needs of the participants.The study reveals that following the children's deaths, the support and supervision the social workers received was often inappropriate and inconsistent and the serious case reviews that were undertaken further contributed to the isolation and blame already being experienced by the workers involved.The theoretical analysis within the study relates the workers experiences to Doka's (2002) typology of disenfranchised grief, Nagel's (1979) concept of "moral luck" and also Hawkins and Shohet's (1989) model of effective supervision. The study introduces a new concept developed by the author. Termed the "personification of systemic failure", this concept highlights how such factors as media responses, organisational culture, working practices and the serious case review system, combine to provide a means by which systemic failures are minimised and ignored infavour of attributing blame to the actions or inaction of individual social work practitioners.The penultimate section of the study contains a detailed discussion of the research findings and also makes a number of recommendations for future research and practice initiatives in the area of fatal child abuse. The paper is concluded by a personal, reflective account of the "research journey" undertaken by the author during the study.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (D.Prof.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2014.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:23
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 17:23
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20784

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