• ‘I know how it sounds on paper’ : risk talk, the use of documents and epistemic justice in child protection assessment home visits

      Bostock, Lisa; Koprowska, Juliet; ; University of Bedfordshire; University of York (SAGE, 2022-09-06)
      Social workers carry much of the frontline authority to define risk to children and discuss it with families. Assessment reports and other institutional documents record professional views about family information, and also have the potential to convey the ‘voice’ of the family to institutions. Social workers have responsibility for sharing these documents with families, yet little is known about how they do this. This paper focuses on episodes when social workers introduce institutional documents in home visits, and on the family responses elicited. These are high-stakes encounters which, when they go seriously wrong, emerge in the press as tragedies and scandals. For families, these documents carry an emotional depth-charge as intimate, potentially shaming, and sometimes inaccurate details of their lives are inscribed in them by and for others. Latour’s (1996) concept of interobjectivity sheds light on the use of documents, while concepts of epistemic authority (Heritage and Raymond, 2005) and epistemic injustice (Fricker, 2007) are employed to examine how social workers respond to parental testimony about themselves and their children. Learning how to present institutional documentation in ways that reduce the risk of emotional reactivity and treating family perspectives with epistemic justice may enhance social work practice. At a policy level, the design of documents warrants review, so that they facilitate rather than obstruct social workers’ efforts to build what are already fragile relationships with families.
    • ‘It’s like a much deeper understanding and you kind of believe them more…’: the value of peer support for young people affected by sexual violence

      Cody, Claire; Bovarnick, Silvie; Peace, Delphine; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2022-09-05)
      Research demonstrates that relationships are key when working to support young people affected by sexual violence. Within these relationships young people show a preference for non-judgemental, flexible, consistent and informal support. Peer support - defined here as support provided by those with similar experiences - is however an uncharted area for assisting young people affected by sexual violence. This paper draws on interviews with 25 respondents with knowledge and experience of setting up, supervising and/or participating in peer support initiatives for young people impacted by different forms of sexual violence in Europe and North America. The article highlights how one form of peer support, peer or ‘survivor’ mentoring, can provide emotional and social support; create space for ‘normality’; and give choices to young people. It outlines three unique dimensions to the support provided by peers more generally; relatability, credibility and translatability. The discussion reflects on what this might mean for traditional support provided by professionals. It also draws attention to the significance of recognising both the variety of experience and identity of young survivors of sexual trauma and the impact this may have on promoting relatability within relationships.
    • Spirituality and the quality of life of individuals with intellectual disability

      Sango, Precious Nonye; Forrester-Jones, Rachel; ; University of Bedfordshire; Western University (LSE Press, 2022-08-30)
      Context: Spirituality seems to form part of person-centred care planning and needs assessment of persons with intellectual disability. Yet, the role of spiritually in relation to their quality of life (QoL) has scarcely been investigated. Objective: This paper reports on an exploration of the extent to which spiritual belief and practice was linked to individuals’ perception of quality of life in two types of care services – one a faith-based provider, the other a non-faith based service. Method: A mixed-methods approach utilising the Quality Of Life Questionnaire (QOLQ) and the a brief spiritual beliefs inventory for use in quality of life research (Systems of Belief Inventory -15R) was used to interview people with intellectual disabilities (or, if they lacked capacity, their formal carers) who lived in their respective service for a long time. Findings: Participants living in the faith-based care service recorded higher mean and median scores on the QOLQ compared to their colleagues who resided in the non-faith based care service. Further analysis indicated significant correlations between the spirituality measure and most of the QOLQ domains. Limitations: The study sample of 36 makes generalisations difficult and our initial intention to include a range of faith traditions were unsuccessful. Implications: Further academic studies exploring spiritual issues for people with intellectual disabilities are needed, as well as clearer policy and practice guidelines and a willingness on the part of services to support this aspect of life.
    • Why does systemic supervision support practitioners’ practice more effectively with children and families?

      Bostock, Lisa; Patrizo, Louis; Godfrey, Tessa; Forrester, Donald; ; University of Bedfordshire; Frontline; University of Cardiff (ELSEVIER, 2022-08-30)
      The importance of supervision for social work practice is widely accepted. This paper focuses on one specific type of supervision: systemic group supervision or “systemic supervision”. Systemic social work practice is a group-based, multi-disciplinary model of service delivery that aims to work therapeutically with the whole family. Central to this model is the use of systemically-informed group supervision. This has been shown to impact positively on the quality of direct practice with families, but what is it about this type of supervision that supports frontline practitioners to practice more skillfully? This paper is based on interviews with 49 frontline staff across five children’s services departments in the UK. It identifies the key features of systemic supervision and explores why workers think that developing collective, group-based understandings of risk to children supports them to intervene more effectively with families in contact with children’s services. These findings contribute to a growing body of knowledge about the practice shaping function of supervision within child and family social work.
    • A scoping review of empirical literature on people with intellectual disability in Nigeria

      Sango, Precious Nonye; Deveau, Roy; ; University of Bedfordshire; University of Kent (MDPI, 2022-08-19)
      Intellectual disability (ID) is an emerging field of research in Nigeria. This review seeks to identify what has been published in order to describe the evidence and to identify the major gaps in knowledge and practice. A systematic search of five databases and an African disability journal yielded 15 papers that reported on empirical studies related to people with ID in Nigeria. Fifteen studies across the databases and journal searched met the inclusion criteria. The participants included adults and children with ID and their families. Twelve of the papers employed quantitative methods, two were qualitative and one was a mixed methods study. There is a paucity of empirical research on people with ID in Nigeria, thus emphasising the need for more primary research about people with ID living in Nigeria. Nigeria is estimated to have the largest population of people with disabilities in Africa; however, this review found limited empirical work regarding their lives, prevalence and care. This limited evidence hinders the understanding of the challenges people with an intellectual disability face and potentially inhibit the creation of policy-oriented solutions to their plights in a globalised world.
    • Exploring the role and lived experiences of people with disabilities working in the agricultural sector in northern Nigeria

      Sango, Precious Nonye; Bello, Mohammed; Deveau, Roy; Gager, Kevin; Boateng, Belinda; Ahmed, Hauwa K.; Azam, Mohammed N.; ; University of Bedfordshire; African Centre for Innovative Research and Development; et al. (Aosis, 2022-08-16)
      Background: It is estimated that over 75.0% of households in sub-Saharan Africa are involved in agriculture, and the majority of the poor in rural areas rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. One billion people living with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries are argued to make up the poorest of the poor, yet to our knowledge, no literature has captured the livelihood of people living with disabilities in the context of farming in Nigeria, specifically northern Nigeria where most of the households are involved in agriculture and related activities. Objectives: This article reports on findings from a study that sought to understand disability in the context of northern Nigerian farming, with a particular focus on the role and lived experiences of people living with disabilities working in the agricultural sector. Method: A survey questionnaire was developed and captured the experiences of 1067 people living with disabilities working in the agricultural sector across five states (Adamawa, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kaduna and Yobe) in northern Nigeria. Results: Findings indicate that people with disabilities are actively participating in agricultural activities for several reasons, which specifically included ‘forced to and for survival’. When participants reported needing care, this was predominantly provided by family members. Findings also showed that participants with disabilities experienced several economic and sociocultural challenges because of their impairments. Conclusion: This study adds to the very limited literature on farmers living with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa and so highlights the need for more research to be conducted with farmers living with disabilities in Nigeria, particularly female farmers living with disabilities. These will provide more evidence pertaining to the experiences of farmers living with disabilities in order to provide effective disability- and gender-inclusive agricultural and entrepreneurship programmes in Nigeria. Contribution: The results of this research reveal important insights relating to the experiences of farmers living with disabilities in northern Nigeria, which can contribute to informing future developmental projects to achieve effective inclusion and actively benefit people living with disabilities.
    • #mothersday: Constructions of motherhood and femininity in social media posts

      Capdevila, Rose; Dann, Charlotte; Lazard, Lisa; Roper, Sandra; Locke, Abigail; Open University; University of Northampton; University of Bedfordshire; Keele University (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2022-08-03)
      Images and representations of parenting, and particularly mothering, have become commonplace on social media platforms over the past decade. These displays, however, take place in the context of popular contemporary discourses around gender and parenting that are in many ways prescriptive. This paper explores the constructions of mothering online through an analysis of posts about mothers on Mother’s Day from 2018 to 2020. Data were collected from Instagram and Twitter using hashtags such as #mothersday, #happymothersday and #motheringsunday. Both content and thematic analyses were conducted. This paper will consider three main themes that were identified in the data: “Beauty & biology”; “Grief & loss” and “Care (& COVID)”, with a focus on constructions of gendered parenting and family through the explicit celebration of the lives and roles of mothers. The findings provide insight into normative constructions of gender and how these are mediated through the affordances of social media platforms in a neoliberal context.
    • Ethics as a moral duty: proposing an integrated ethics framework for migration research

      Opfermann, Lena S. (Oxford University Press, 2022-07-19)
      This article interrogates the assumptions and moral values underlying social research ethics frameworks and practices applicable to migration studies. Based on a review of forced migration literature and on empirical observations I identify three tiers of research ethics that generally guide ethical conduct in this field: Procedural, relational and reciprocal ethics. I suggest that these tiers are traditionally conceptualised as a hierarchy in which certain ethical demands are considered morally superior to others. Looking at each of the three tiers the article shows that procedural and relational ethics demands are often based on unclear moral values and problematic notions of migrants’ vulnerability. To address this shortcoming, I draw on deontological ethics and on Levinas’ notion of unconditional responsibility to argue that our duty as researchers is based on our particular relationship with our research subjects rather than on their status as migrants. Moving away from a hierarchical understanding of research ethics I then propose an integrated ethics framework that allows researchers to conceptualise and address the various ethical demands in an interconnected and holistic way. This framework presents an original contribution to research ethics discourses and practice in migration studies and other fields of social inquiry with a political and moral ambition such as human rights, social work and childhood studies.
    • CCTC final report: care leavers' transitions to adulthood in the context of COVID-19

      Munro, Emily; Friel, Seana; Baker, Claire; Lynch, Amy; Walker, Kirsche; Williams, Jane; Cook, Erica Jane; Chater, Angel M.; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2022-05-24)
      The Care Leavers, COVID-19 and Transitions from Care (CCTC) study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19 (ES/V016245/1). The research explored care leavers’ experience of the pandemic. Analysis of local authority management information system data on over 1300 young people from 10 local authorities and over 60 interviews with young people and professionals informed the study. As part of the study care experienced adults, leaving care workers and operational managers came together to form a Networked Learning Community (NLC). Over a series of sessions the NLC supported the research team to interpret the findings, develop recommendations and tools for practice
    • How the signified went missing in twentieth-century economic theory: Mises, Hayek and Schumpeter and the abolition of value

      Hoctor, Tom (Taylor & Francis, 2022-04-29)
      This article contributes to a growing literature on economic epistemologies by arguing that so-called ‘neoliberal’ ways of thinking are characteristic of a trend in wider social theory to privilege epistemological problematics over ontological ones. It will approach the shared nature of these epistemological precepts through an interrogation of the formal approaches to economic value used in the work of Schumpeter, Mises and Hayek and compare this with Derrida and Saussure’s understanding of linguistic value. Using a Marxian understanding of use-value, it will be argued that the movement to abolish the transcendental signified in post-structural philosophy is homologous to the abolition of objective value in economics. It will be claimed that the impulse to abolish the Thing shared by economic theorists and post- structuralists follows from a shared, though necessarily differently constituted, anti- socialism. In both cases, undermining the Thing is seen as a means of undermining organised socialist politics. I will conclude by arguing that these similarities demonstrate the need for neoliberalism and critique of neoliberalism to be historicised as part of a wider account of the relationship between contemporary capitalism, politics and the production of knowledge.
    • The consumer, the market and the universal aristocracy: the ideology of academisation in England

      Hoctor, Tom; (Sage, 2022-04-20)
      In 2018, academies accounted for 72% of all English secondary schools, compared to 6% in 2009 (National Audit Office, 2018). English academy schooling conforms to marketizing trends in international education reform, but Conservative politicians have also attempted to promote particular moral values. This article analyses the tensions between neoliberalism and neoconservatism and applies this analysis to a concrete debate taking place within the Conservative Party in the 2000s and 2010s. It uses arguments made by an illustrative group of Conservative politicians to explore and analyse the tension between these two reform trends. The aim of this article is twofold. Firstly, it will present the key arguments which were marshalled by a selection of thinkers affiliated with the Conservative Party in favour of educational reform. It will do this by analysing Conservative articulations of the failure of state education; the role of the consumer and the relationship between democracy and the market. Secondly, it will explore the degree to which marketizing and traditionalist impulses in education reform should be considered complimentary or contradictory. I will conclude by arguing that the parent-consumer functions as a vanishing mediator between neoliberal and neoconservative ideological positions.
    • Mothering 'outsider' children: white women in Black/white interracial families in Ireland

      O’Malley, Patti; University of Bedfordshire (MDPI, 2022-04-19)
      The mixed-race family constellation has emerged as a regular feature of the Irish familial landscape. Such a demographic change invariably leads to the increased presence of white women who are mothering across racialised boundaries. Moreover, in the Irish context, the racial category of whiteness is privileged at a structural level and remains a central organising principle of Irishness as a mode of national belonging. This paper, therefore, sets out to address the specific gap in the literature related to the racialised experiences of the white mother of mixed-race (i.e., black African/white Irish) children in contemporary Ireland as these women are, in effect, mothering ‘outsider’ children in a context of white supremacy. More specifically, how does the positioning of these women’s mixed-race children impact their subjectivities as mothers categorised normatively as white and Irish? Framed by critical whiteness literature, this paper draws on in-depth interviews with twelve white Irish mothers. Data analysis broadly revealed three themes as relates to the women’s negotiations of the racialising discourses and practices which impact their family units. Findings suggest that these women no longer occupy the default position of whiteness as a category of racial privilege and a condition of ‘structured invisibility’. Perhaps, most significantly, the lived reality of these women disturbs the hegemonic conflation of the categories white and Irish. This paper, therefore, extends our theoretical understanding of both whiteness and mixed-race studies. View Full-Text
    • Nothing about me without me

      Hill, N.; Warrington, Camille (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2022-04-19)
      This chapter aims to provide an overview of how participation and empowerment-focused approaches can promote improved relational practice and outcomes for young people in safeguarding . It builds on learning from emerging practice in interrelated disciplines such as youth and community work, social work, youth justice and adult safeguarding.
    • Learning from safeguarding adult reviews about Transitional Safeguarding: building an evidence base

      Preston-Shoot, Michael; Cocker, Christine; Cooper, Adi; University of Bedfordshire; University of East Anglia; Adult Social Care and Safeguarding (Emerald Group Holdings Ltd., 2022-04-12)
      Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to set out the evidence base to date for Transitional Safeguarding to support authors of Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) where Transitional Safeguarding is a key theme in the review. Design/methodology/approach: This paper draws on key evidence from several published sources about Transitional Safeguarding in England. This evidence is presented in this paper as a framework for analysis to support SAR authors. It follows the same four domains framework used in other adult safeguarding reviews: direct work with individuals; team around the person; organisational support for team members; and governance. This framework was then applied to two SARs written by two of the article’s authors. Findings: The framework for analysis for Transitional Safeguarding SARs was applied as part of the methodology of two separate SARs regarding three young people. Key reflections from applying the framework to both SARs are identified and discussed. These included: providing an effective framework for analysis which all participants could use and a contribution for developing knowledge. Whilst many issues arising for safeguarding young people are similar to those for other adults, there are some unique features. The ways in which the gaps between children and adults systems play out through inter-agency and multi-professional working, as well as how “lifestyle choices” of young people are understood and interpreted are key issues. Practical implications: This paper presents an evidence base regarding Transitional Safeguarding for SAR authors who are tasked with completing a SAR where Transitional Safeguarding is a key theme. Originality/value: This paper draws together key literature and evidence about Transitional Safeguarding practice with young people. This paper argues that this framework for analysis provides SAR authors with a useful tool to support their analysis in this complex area of practice.
    • Young people negotiating intra-and extra familial harm and safety: social and holistic approaches

      Wroe, Lauren; Pearce, Jenny J. (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2022-03-21)
      This chapter provides a holistic and structurally informed framework for understanding the intersections between intra-familial and extra-familial harm in adolescence. It proposes this contextual, social and structural understanding of child harm as a way to interpret and respond to young peoples’ experiences of multiple forms of harms in their families and beyond. Building upon poverty aware, contextual and 'social models' of social work, it considers the need for holistic service responses that acknowledge and alleviate the structural pressures on families and young people. It challenges individualised social work approaches that ask individuals to change as opposed to social work approaches that embrace the impact of social and structural inequalities. Rather than understanding this focus on ‘context’ as a new voice in the room, the chapter draws on Black feminist scholarship that outlines how context might be used in social work.
    • Growing pains: developing safeguarding responses to adolescent harm

      Beckett, Helen; Lloyd, Jenny (Jessica Kingsley, 2022-03-21)
      Overview of the ways in which safeguarding responses to different forms of adolescence can compound or alleviate harm
    • ‘Keeping the informal safe’: strategies for developing peer support initiatives for young people who have experienced sexual violence

      Cody, Claire; Bovarnick, Silvie; Peace, Delphine; Warrington, Camille; University of Bedfordshire; Durham University (John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2022-02-27)
      There is increasing recognition of the value of trauma-informed approaches when working with young people affected by sexual violence. Peer support is a key principle of a trauma-informed approach; however, there are limited examples of peer support programmes for this group. This paper draws on interviews with 25 respondents with knowledge and experience of peer support initiatives with young people impacted by sexual violence. The article outlines their perspectives on how peer support initiatives – that may be viewed as more ‘risky’ than traditional casework – can be kept ‘safe’. Six strategies are identified together with implications for practice.
    • There’s something there for everyone : learning about the Lighthouse: young people’s perspectives on London’s Child House

      Beckett, Helen; Soares, Claire; Warrington, Camille; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2022-02-16)
      The Lighthouse, London’s Child House, 1 opened in October 2018. Bringing together a range of organisations under one roof, the Lighthouse’s intention is to be a child friendly, multidisciplinary service for those who have experienced sexual abuse, with the foremost aim to be focused on the child (Conroy et al., 2018). The Child House approach is informed by that of Child Advocacy Centres in the United States and the Barnahus model in Scandinavia. The Lighthouse is a member of the Promise Barnahus Network, 2 a member-led organisation that works to harmonise and consolidate good Barnahus practice across Europe (Parker et al., forthcoming). The Evidence and Insight Unit at MOPAC was commissioned to evaluate the Lighthouse. As part of this evaluation, they commissioned staff from the Safer Young Lives Research Centre (SYLRC) at the University of Bedfordshire to elicit the views of a cohort of children and young people who had engaged with the Lighthouse, in a study entitled ‘Learning about the Lighthouse’. Key learning from young people’s contributions to ‘Learning about the Lighthouse’ has been incorporated into MOPAC’s overall evaluation report (Parker et al., forthcoming). This report provides an accompaniment to that broader report. In line with the Lighthouse’s own aim to be focused on the child, this report provides a distinct space where young people’s views are the sole focus and central source of learning. Though scaffolded by researcher narrative, informed by cumulative analysis of all contributions, young people’s contributions are shared in individual participants’ own words.
    • Autism and autistic traits in those who died by suicide in England

      Cassidy, Sarah; Au-Yeung, Sheena K.; Robertson, Ashley E.; Cogger-Ward, Heather; Richards, Gareth; Allison, Carrie; Bradley, Louise; Kenny, Rebecca; O'Connor, Rory; Mosse, David; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2022-02-15)
      Autism and autistic traits are risk factors for suicidal behaviour. To explore the prevalence of autism (diagnosed and undiagnosed) in those who died by suicide, and identify risk factors for suicide in this group. Stage 1: 372 coroners' inquest records, covering the period 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2017 from two regions of England, were analysed for evidence that the person who died had diagnosed autism or undiagnosed possible autism (elevated autistic traits), and identified risk markers. Stage 2: 29 follow-up interviews with the next of kin of those who died gathered further evidence of autism and autistic traits using validated autism screening and diagnostic tools. Stage 1: evidence of autism (10.8%) was significantly higher in those who died by suicide than the 1.1% prevalence expected in the UK general alive population (odds ratio (OR) = 11.08, 95% CI 3.92-31.31). Stage 2: 5 (17.2%) of the follow-up sample had evidence of autism identified from the coroners' records in stage 1. We identified evidence of undiagnosed possible autism in an additional 7 (24.1%) individuals, giving a total of 12 (41.4%); significantly higher than expected in the general alive population (1.1%) (OR = 19.76, 95% CI 2.36-165.84). Characteristics of those who died were largely similar regardless of evidence of autism, with groups experiencing a comparably high number of multiple risk markers before they died. Elevated autistic traits are significantly over-represented in those who die by suicide.
    • Being ‘good enough’: perfectionism and well-being in social workers

      Kinman, Gail; Grant, Louise Jane; Birkbeck, University of London; University of Bedfordshire (Oxford University Press, 2022-02-03)
      Perfectionism refers to a tendency to set unrealistically high standards for oneself and others. Although often seen positively, perfectionism can threaten health, relationships and performance. This study examined the effects of three types of maladaptive perfectionism on burnout in 294 UK social workers: self-oriented (having excessively high standards for oneself), other-oriented (having excessively high expectations of others) and socially prescribed (perceiving external pressure to excel). In line with previous research, we predicted that socially prescribed perfectionism would have particularly powerful effects on well-being, but significant relationships with self and other-oriented perfectionism were also expected. We also examined whether maladaptive perfectionism intensified the negative impact of work-related emotional demands on burnout. Significant positive relationships were found between socially prescribed and other-oriented perfectionism and burnout. A higher level of socially prescribed perfectionism was found than self and other-oriented and its relationship with burnout was particularly strong. We found no evidence, however, that perfectionism was an additional risk factor for burnout when emotional demands were high. Early career social workers were found to be at greater risk of dysfunctional perfectionism and burnout. The implications of the findings for the well-being of social workers are considered and potential interventions outlined to reduce maladaptive perfectionism.