• Human trafficking and online networks: policy, analysis, and ignorance

      Mendel, Jonathan; Sharapov, Kiril; University of Bedfordshire; University of Dundee; University of Dundee; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2016)
      Dominant anti-trafficking policy discourses represent trafficking as an issue of crime, “illegal” migration, victimhood and humanitarianism. Such a narrow focus is not an adequate response to the interplay between technology, trafficking and anti-trafficking. This article explores different levels of analysis and the interplay between human trafficking and technology. We argue for a shift from policy discourses with a very limited focus on crime and victimisation to more systemic understandings of trafficking and more robust micro-analyses of trafficking and everyday life. The article calls for an agnotological understanding of policy responses to trafficking and technology: these depend upon the production of ignorance. We critique limitations in policy understandings of trafficking-related aspects of online spaces, and argue for better engagement with online networks. We conclude that there is a need to move beyond a focus on “new” technology and exceptionalist claims about “modern slavery” towards greater attention to everyday exploitation within neoliberalism.
    • 'Traffickers and their victims': anti-trafficking policy in the United Kingdom

      Sharapov, Kiril; University of Bedfordshire (SAGE, 2015-08-20)
      This paper relies upon the ‘what’s the problem represented to be?’ approach to policy analysis to interrogate key representations of human trafficking implicit in the UK government’s anti-trafficking policy. It identifies six policy vectors, or representations, of human trafficking embedded within the policy, including organized crime, ‘illegal’ immigration, and victim assistance as three primary vectors; sexual exploitation/prostitution, poverty in countries of victims’ origin, and isolated instances of labour law infringements as three secondary vectors. In addition, a series of assumptions, which underlie the current interpretation of trafficking, are also identified. By exploring what the problem of human trafficking is represented to be, the paper also provides an insight into what remains obscured within the context of the dominant policy frameworks. In doing so, it highlights the role of state-capital entanglements in normalizing exploitation of trafficked, smuggled and ‘offshored’ labour, and critiques the UK’s anti-trafficking policy for manufacturing doubt as to the structural causes of human trafficking within the context of neoliberalism.
    • Roma children and young people in Bulgaria: patterns of risk and effective protection in relation to child sexual exploitation

      D'Arcy, Kate; Brodie, Isabelle; University of Bedfordshire (Cogitatio Press, 2015-07-07)
      This article examines patterns of risk regarding child sexual exploitation (CSE). There is specific focus on those living in alternative care, child sexual exploitation and trafficking among Roma communities in Bulgaria and the UK. Data is drawn from a desk-based literature review and partnership work with Bulgarian and British academics and practitioners to explore the issues in both countries. Although there is limited statistical data on CSE and children in care across Europe and the risk-factors for Roma children and young people are still not being fully recognised, we can draw on what is known in Bulgaria to inform practice in the UK with emerging Roma communities. Research on CSE more generally can also inform awareness of risk factors particularly around care systems. Comparative information about what is known in the UK and Bulgaria is considered in order to make some recommendations for international prevention, protection efforts, and prosecution strategies for the future.
    • A-Z of attachment

      Wilkins, David; Shemmings, David; Shemmings, Yvonne (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015-07)
    • Identifying and responding to alcohol misuse in memory clinics: current practice, barriers and facilitators

      Thake, Anna; Wadd, Sarah; Edwards, Kim; Randall-James, James; University of Hertfordshire; University of Bedfordshire; South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Bedford CMHT for Older People (Emerald, 2015-05-18)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore current practice, barriers and facilitators to identifying and responding to alcohol problems in memory clinics. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire sent to professionals in 55 memory clinics in England, Wales and the Isle of Wight and two focus groups with professionals from three memory clinics in England. Findings – Only 1/35 clinics that responded to the questionnaire was using a standardised alcohol screening tool but all attempted to gain some information about alcohol use. Without screening tools, practitioners found it difficult to determine whether alcohol use was problematic. Barriers to identification/intervention included cognitive impairment, service-user being “on guard” during assessment, presence of family members/carers, time constraints and a perception that brief interventions were not within the remit of memory clinics. Facilitators were obtaining visual clues of problem drinking during home visits and collateral information from family members/carers. Research limitations/implications – Focus group participants were recruited through convenience sampling and a small number of professionals took part. This means that the findings may be subject to selection bias and limits the generalisability of the findings. Practical implications – Memory clinics should provide guidance and training for practitioners on how to intervene and respond to alcohol misuse. Further research is required to determine the most effective way to identify alcohol problems in people with cognitive impairment and how to deliver brief alcohol interventions that take account of cognitive deficits. Originality/value – This is the first study to examine alcohol screening and interventions in memory clinics and identifies a need for guidance, training and further research.
    • An examination of gender differences in the impact of individual and organisational factors on work hours, work-life conflict and psychological strain in academics

      Hogan, Victoria; Hogan, Michael; Hodgins, Margaret; Kinman, Gail; Bunting, Brendan (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2015-04-30)
      The current study used multi-group structural equation modelling (SEM) to test a fully and partially mediated Extended Rational Model of Work-Life Conflict and examine the impact of job involvement, workaholism, work intensity, organisational expectations and support, and having children on work hours, work-life conflict and psychological strain in male and female academics. In total, 410 academics from three Irish universities completed an electronic questionnaire survey. Results indicated both commonalities and differences in the factors that influence work hours, work-life conflict and levels of psychological strain in men and women. Lower organisation expectations predicted longer working hours in both men and women; additional unique predictors of longer working hours in men were higher work intensity and having children; conversely, higher work enjoyment predicted longer working hours in women, but not men. Higher work intensity predicted higher work-life conflict in men and women. In the final best fitting model, longer work hours predicted higher levels of work-life conflict in women only. Findings are discussed in light of research and theory on work-life balance and the challenge of facilitating productivity and well-being in academia.
    • The New York statement on the evolving definition of practice research designed for continuing dialogue: a bulletin from the 3rd International Conference on Practice Research (2014)

      Epstein, Irwin; Fisher, Mike; Julkunen, Ilse; Uggerhoj, Lars; Austin, Michael J.; Sim, Timothy; Silberman School of Social Work; University of Bedfordshire; University of Helsinki; University of Aalborg; et al. (SAGE, 2015-04-22)
      This Statement on Practice Research is a work in progress. It emerges out of deliberations from three international conferences on defining and operationalizing practice research. It seeks to capture both a process and outcome in which practitioners, researchers, service users, and educators collectively engage in a negotiated process of inquiry. One of the goals of this form of research is to place equal emphasis on improving practice and improving services. Practice research also seeks to rebalance the power relations in terms of integrating the voices of service users, service providers, service researchers, and instructors preparing future and current service providers. This third statement emerges out of the most recent international conference in New York City (2012) and continues the construction of the social science and social philosophy foundation of practice research. It seeks to expand the dialogue on practice research to include more international voices while also searching for linkages with the evolving process of defining the mixed methods approach to evidence-informed practice. This Statement provides a platform for the 4th International Conference on Practice Research planned for Hong Kong in 2017.
    • Serious case review findings on the challenges of self-neglect: indicators for good practice

      Braye, Suzy; Orr, David; Preston-Shoot, Michael; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2015-04-13)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse in detail the findings from 40 serious case reviews (SCRs) involving adults who self-neglect, and to consider the commissioning and reporting of such inquiries in the context of accountability that also involves the Coroner and the Local Government Ombudsman. Design/methodology/approach – This study comprised a cross-case analysis of 32 SCRs, using a four-layer design of the adult and their living context, the team around the adult, the organisations around the team, and the Local Safeguarding Board around the organisations. Findings – Available reports tend towards description of events rather than appraisal of what influenced practice. They highlight the challenges in cases of self-neglect practice, including person-centred approaches, capacity assessment and securing engagement. Familiar themes emerge when the spotlight turns to professional and organisational networks, namely information-sharing, supervision, recording and compliance with procedures and legal rules. Some Local Safeguarding Adults Boards found the process of conducting and then using serious case reviews for service improvement challenging. Research limitations/implications – The cross-case approach to thematic analysis focuses on reports into situations where outcomes of professional and organisational intervention had been disappointing. Nonetheless, the themes derived from this analysis are similar to other research findings on what represents best practice when working with cases involving self-neglect. Practical implications – The paper identifies learning for the effective commissioning and conduct of SCRs, and for service improvement with respect to practice with adults who self-neglect. Originality/value – The paper offers further detailed analysis of a large sample of SCRs that builds the evidence-base for effective practice with adults who self-neglect and for efficient management of process of commissioning and conducting SCRs.
    • The importance of practice learning in social work: do we practice what we preach?

      Domakin, Alison (Taylor & Francis, 2015-04)
      This paper reports on themes identified from focus group discussions with practice educators, in which they articulated concerns about factors that limited their work with students on placement. Four key themes are identified from analysis of the data: (1) The absence of workload relief for agency based practice educators; (2) A lack of knowledge about the academic curriculum in qualifying social work programmes; (3) A sense of isolation from universities placing students with them; (4) Concerns about the quality of practice learning experiences they could provide to students. Expressions of guilt and anxiety were a prominent feature of the focus group discussions. Almost all the practice educators felt that their work in this role was not good enough. They were concerned about standards and missed opportunities to work developmentally with students who may be at risk of failing, or conversely to stimulate those who were more able. The findings suggest that universities should consider whether practice educators are sufficiently connected with other parts of the social work education system to fulfil their role.
    • Finding the right match: a survey of approved adopters’ experiences of agency support in the linking and matching process

      Dance, Cherilyn; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-03)
      This research study was commissioned by Adoption Link to explore approved adopters’ experiences of agency support in their search for a child or children who they felt able to parent. The impetus for the research came from Adoption Link’s awareness, as a result of contact with their users and posts on various adoption forums, of some level of dissatisfaction with the ways in which processes for linking and matching were operating for approved adopters. By way of setting the scene for the study findings, this introduction looks briefly at the policy background as it relates to linking and matching in adoption; the current situation, particularly in England, regarding the numbers and profiles of waiting children and approved adopters; provision of adoption agency services and how links and matches are achieved. It is important to note that much of what is covered in this introductory section applies to England only. While there is some shared legislation across the four countries of the UK , each implements elements of distinct legislation and policy in relation to looked after children and adoption and up to date statistics for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are rather difficult to come by. Although the policy context in different parts of the UK might be distinct, adoption practice in relation to children in care is similar. The focus here on England is in part pragmatic – because information about the situation in England is easily available and in the public domain –it also reflects the fact that the majority of responses to the survey reported were from adopters in England and space precludes a detailed discussion of the similarities and differences between countries.
    • Making justice work : experiences of criminal justice for children and young people affected by sexual exploitation as victims and witnesses

      Beckett, Helen; Warrington, Camille; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-03)
      Making Justice Work is a one year participatory pilot research project, carried out by The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking at The University of Bedfordshire. The research explored young people’s experiences of the criminal justice system in child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases, and the ways in which these could be improved.
    • Learning lessons about self-neglect? an analysis of serious case reviews

      Braye, Suzy; Orr, David; Preston-Shoot, Michael; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2015-02-09)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report the findings from research into 40 serious case reviews (SCRs) involving adults who self-neglect. Design/methodology/approach – The study comprised analysis of 40 SCRs where self-neglect featured. The reviews were found through detailed searching of Local Safeguarding Adult Board (LSAB) web sites and through contacts with Board managers and independent chairs. A four layer analysis is presented of the characteristics of each case and SCR, of the recommendations and of the emerging themes. Learning for service improvement is presented thematically, focusing on the adult and their immediate context, the team around the adult, the organisations around the team and the Local Safeguarding Board around the organisations. Findings – There is no one typical presentation of self-neglect; cases vary in terms of age, household composition, lack of self-care, lack of care of one's environment and/or refusal to engage. Recommendations foreground LSABs, adult social care and unspecified agencies, and focus on staff support, procedures and the components of best practice and effective SCRs. Reports emphasise the importance of a person-centred approach, within the context of ongoing assessment of mental capacity and risk, with agencies sharing information and working closely together, supported by management and supervision, and practising within detailed procedural guidance. Research limitations/implications – There is no national database of SCRs commissioned by LSABs and currently there is no requirement to publish the outcomes of such inquiries. It may be that there are further SCRs, or other forms of inquiry, that have been commissioned by Boards but not publicised. This limits the learning that has been available for service improvement. Practical implications – The paper identifies practice, management and organisational issues that should be considered when working with adults who self-neglect. These cases are often complex and stressful for those involved. The thematic analysis adds to the evidence-base of how best to approach engagement with adults who self-neglect and to engage the multi-agency network in assessing and managing risk and mental capacity. Originality/value – The paper offers the first formal evaluation of SCRs that focus on adults who self-neglect. The analysis of the findings and the recommendations from the investigations into the 40 cases adds to the evidence-base for effective practice with adults who self-neglect.
    • The impact of ‘being assessed’ by a disabled children's team: a personal reflective account

      Wilkins, David; London Borough of Enfield (Wiley, 2015-02)
      The body of ‘service user’ literature confirms the value of parental perceptions of child and family social work and the insight parents and others can offer. This paper lends my voice to the literature regarding parental perceptions, inspired by the work of Pamela Davies, who provided a personal account of the impact of a child protection investigation. This paper draws upon my experiences of being a father of two ‘disabled children’ and undergoing an assessment of need. This paper seeks to draw attention to issues of choice, power imbalances and the role of expertise. My personal experience of undergoing an assessment was that it was an emotionally fraught process, for the duration of the assessment, our family stress increased and we had a sense of having to ‘battle’ for the support we needed. As such, my personal experience fits well with the wider body of literature, which highlights the increased stress of caring for children with additional needs, the challenges of ‘fitting’ disabled children into the frameworks used to assess all children and the difficulty for parents and professionals in distinguishing between ‘normal’ parenting responsibilities and the additional responsibilities of caring for a disabled child.
    • The recruitment, assessment, support and supervision of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender foster carers: an international literature review

      Cosis-Brown, Helen; Sebba, Judy; Luke, Nikki (University of Oxford, 2015-02)
      Electronic databases and websites covering the international literature were used to identify 20 published papers (covering 19 studies). Those identified were from the UK, USA and Australia. Comparisons across countries are subject to limitations of different cultures and services. Most of the research exclusively about LGBT foster care, rather than research that merges fostering and adoption, has developed in Australia where, in contrast to the USA and UK, adoption is rarely the chosen option for permanence for children in public care. Studies identified for the review were published since 1996 and were all written in English. Most of the studies focused exclusively on the perceptions of established foster carers’, less often on perceptions of social workers and one included young people’s perceptions. The studies used a range of methodologies from in-depth interviews and focus groups to larger scale surveys using questionnaires. Study samples ranged from 1 to nearly 400. No studies were identified in the review that included interventions subjected to evaluation using comparison or control groups. Most studies adopted a retrospective design, seeking the perspectives of established carers.
    • Child maltreatment: how can friends contribute to safety?

      Allnock, Debra; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2015-01-12)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a study of support received by 60 young adults who experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse and neglect in childhood. It is focussed on the support provided by friends in particular, and draws out relevant learning for child sexual exploitation (CSE). Design/methodology/approach – In all, 60 young people completed a questionnaire, complemented by a two hour follow-up interview to explore experiences of formal and informal support in disclosing abuse. In total, 13 young people were recruited on the basis of their prior participation in a larger, associated study of child abuse and neglect, with the remainder recruited via open invitation. Findings – There is rich information in the interviews about the ways that friends provided support to participants. Friends provided practical, moral and emotional support. They intervened to keep their friends safe. They offered emotional “escape” and a conduit to adults who could help keep them safe. Importantly, friends recognised that participants were in distress even when they did not know the participants were being abused. Practical implications – The results highlight that friends have a crucial role to play in helping children to keep safe and to feel safe, provided that they are equipped with information and knowledge of how to respond and where to seek help. Originality/value – The paper is original in considering the role of friends within a community safety framework. In addition, the study sample is larger than other studies of its kind, and considers a wider variety of child maltreatment experiences than previous studies, making clear links to CSE.
    • Community awareness raising on child sexual exploitation: possibilities and problems

      Dhaliwal, Sukhwant; D'Arcy, Kate; Thomas, Roma; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2015-01-12)
      Purpose – A number of reports on child sexual exploitation (CSE) have pointed to the importance of community awareness raising as a preventative measure, a means of extending the reach of CSE services and widening the scope of social responsibility to protect children. However, little has been said about how to undertake such activities; how to do this well and the potential pitfalls to avoid. The purpose of this paper is to draw out critical questions about the notion of community and highlight what can be learnt from historical debates about multiculturalist practice. While the paper does not focus solely on ethnic minority communities, the authors do take stock of pertinent points from that literature in relation to issues of engagement, power and representation and applicable learning for awareness raising around CSE. In the second half of the paper, the authors consider the issue of awareness raising within communities. The authors draw on the limited literature on community awareness raising in CSE, contextualising this with reference to relevant learning from other pertinent bodies of work, to reflect on implications for practice. Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper based on a review of various bodies of literature. The first half reviews the literature about community, community engagement, and multiculturalism as policy and practice. The second half draws evidence from the literature on forms of awareness raising on CSE and other sensitive social issues to discuss implications for practice arising from the authors’ reflections on the literature. Findings – The review produces three key findings. First, the need to transfer historic insights into the limits of “community” and multiculturalism and apply these to the emergent field of CSE. Second, despite theoretical distinctions between “community” and “society”, evidence from the literature suggests that the term “community” is being applied more generally to refer to a wide range of events and practices. Third, the authors conclude with some points about what may work well for CSE professionals developing work in this field; that is, clear aims and objectives, nuanced approaches and targeted messages. Research limitations/implications – This is an under-researched area where there are currently no published evaluations of community awareness raising interventions for CSE. Effective evidence-based strategies for engaging communities are urgently needed for CSE prevention work to be extended in positive ways which protect those affected. Originality/value – This paper is original in drawing insights from historical debates about multiculturalist practice to inform thinking on community awareness raising on CSE. It makes a valuable contribution by bringing together insights from a number of distinct bodies of literature in ways which can inform practice.
    • Developing work-life balance competence: the importance of context

      McDowall, Almuth; Kinman, Gail; Grant, Christine; University of Bedfordshire; City University London; Birkbeck University London; Coventry University (The British Psychological Society, 2015)
      Drawing on research with different professional groups and working contexts (including the police, social work and ‘e-workers’) this ‘taster’ workshop provides an overview of current work-life balance (WLB) practice development as well as theoretical advancements. Delegates will be introduced to the skills, knowledge and abilities that underpin WLB can be identified, emphasising the benefits of a context-specific approach. In small groups, we will undertake a brief exercise using checklists and reflective tools to identify how work-life balance can be self-managed and managed in others.
    • How do good social work managers promote staff wellbeing?

      Grant, Louise Jane; Kinman, Gail; University of Bedfordshire (Community Care, 2015)
      Louise Grant and Gail Kinman unpick the knowledge, skills and attributes that managers need to develop resilient practitioners