• Putting risk into perspective: lessons for children and youth services from a participatory advocacy project with survivors of sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia

      Bovarnick, Silvie; Cody, Claire; ; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2021-03-26)
      While engaging survivors of sexual violence in participatory advocacy may not be new to adult services, it is less common among children and youth services that commonly prioritise “protection” over “participation”. This paper draws on monitoring and evaluation data collected from a youth advocacy project with fifteen survivors of sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia. Secondary analysis, adopting a trauma-informed lens, was undertaken on data generated through shared learning events with project partners, focus groups with project staff and workshops with the young women involved. We argue that the identified gains for participants resonate with key elements of trauma-informed responses to sexual violence, namely establishing safety and trust, empowerment, and critical reflection. Although based on work with young women, our findings are relevant to children and youth services interested in engaging survivors in advocacy. Despite the significant ethical and practical challenges, we argue that it is important to put risk into perspective and not lose sight of the potential protective benefits of participatory work for participants.
    • Co-production of two whole-school sexual health interventions for English secondary schools: positive choices and project respect

      Ponsford, Ruth; Meiksin, Rebecca; Bragg, Sara; Crichton, Joanna; Emmerson, Lucy; Tancred, Tara; Tilouche, Nerissa; Morgan, Gemma; Gee, Pete; Young, Honor; et al. (BioMed Central Ltd, 2021-02-17)
      Background: Whole-school interventions represent promising approaches to promoting adolescent sexual health, but they have not been rigorously trialled in the UK and it is unclear if such interventions are feasible for delivery in English secondary schools. The importance of involving intended beneficiaries, implementers and other key stakeholders in the co-production of such complex interventions prior to costly implementation and evaluation studies is widely recognised. However, practical accounts of such processes remain scarce. We report on co-production with specialist providers, students, school staff, and other practice and policy professionals of two new whole-school sexual heath interventions for implementation in English secondary schools. Methods: Formative qualitative inquiry involving 75 students aged 13–15 and 23 school staff. A group of young people trained to advise on public health research were consulted on three occasions. Twenty-three practitioners and policy-makers shared their views at a stakeholder event. Detailed written summaries of workshops and events were prepared and key themes identified to inform the design of each intervention. Results: Data confirmed acceptability of addressing unintended teenage pregnancy, sexual health and dating and relationships violence via multi-component whole-school interventions and of curriculum delivery by teachers (providing appropriate teacher selection). The need to enable flexibility for the timetabling of lessons and mode of parent communication; ensure content reflected the reality of young people’s lives; and develop prescriptive teaching materials and robust school engagement strategies to reflect shrinking capacity for schools to implement public-health interventions were also highlighted and informed intervention refinements. Our research further points to some of the challenges and tensions involved in co-production where stakeholder capacity may be limited or their input may conflict with the logic of interventions or what is practicable within the constraints of a trial. Conclusions: Multi-component, whole-school approaches to addressing sexual health that involve teacher delivered curriculum may be feasible for implementation in English secondary schools. They must be adaptable to individual school settings; involve careful teacher selection; limit additional burden on staff; and accurately reflect the realities of young people’s lives. Co-production can reduce research waste and may be particularly useful for developing complex interventions, like whole-school sexual health interventions, that must be adaptable to varying institutional contexts and address needs that change rapidly. When co-producing, potential limitations in relation to the representativeness of participants, the ‘depth’ of engagement necessary as well as the burden on participants and how they will be recompensed must be carefully considered. Having well-defined, transparent procedures for incorporating stakeholder input from the outset are also essential. Formal feasibility testing of both co-produced interventions in English secondary schools via cluster RCT is warranted. Trial registration: Project Respect: ISRCTN12524938. Positive Choices: ISRCTN65324176
    • Research end-user perspectives about using social work research in policy and practice

      Tilbury, Clare; Hughes, Mark; Bigby, Christine; Fisher, Mike; Griffith University; Southern Cross University; La Trobe University; University of Bedfordshire (Oxford Journals, 2021-02-14)
      Research funding and assessment initiatives that foster engagement between researchers and research end-users have been adopted by governments in many countries. They aim to orient research towards achieving measurable impacts that improve economic and social well-being beyond academia. This has long been regarded as important in social work research, as it has in many fields of applied research. This study examined research engagement and impact from the perspective of research end-users working in human services. In-person or telephone interviews were conducted with 43 research end-users about how they used research and interacted with researchers. Content analysis was undertaken to identify engagement strategies and thematic coding was employed to examine underpinning ideas about research translation into practice. Participants were involved in many types of formal and informal research engagements. They viewed research translation as a mutual responsibility but indicated that researchers should do more to improve the utility of their research for industry. The findings highlight the iterative nature of engagement and impact and raise questions about the infrastructure for scaling up impact beyond relationships between individual researchers and their industry partners.
    • Covid-19: changing fields of social work practice with children and young people

      Dillon, Joanne; Evans, Ffion; Wroe, Lauren; ; University of Sheffield; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Bedfordshire (Policy Press, 2021-02-12)
      Drawing on the theoretical work of Wacquant, Bourdieu and Foucault we interrogate how pandemic has weaponized child and family social work practices through reinvigorated mechanisms of discipline and surveillance. We explore how social workers are caught in the struggle between enforcement and relational welfare support. We consider how the illusio of social work obscures power dynamics impacting children, young people and families caught in child welfare systems; disproportionately affecting classed and racialised individuals.
    • "My head was like a washing machine on spin": (improving) women’s experiences of accessing support

      Neale, Jo; Hodges, Kathryn; University of Bedfordshire; St. Mary’s University (DigitalCommons@URI, 2021-02-01)
      This paper draws on data collected as part of two larger studies to set out the differences, according to women seeking support, between the feminist responses of the specialist women’s sector and the issues-led responses of other agencies. The first study examined the processes by which women enter, endure, and exit relationships with abusive men. The second study explored the barriers to help-seeking for those accessing a service for women involved in prostitution. Taking a feminist poststructuralist approach, the authors point to the gendered nature, both of the experiences that propel women toward help-seeking and of the responses they receive from agencies. They note the current socio-economic context within which those experiences and responses are set and the importance, for women, of the specialist women’s sector. Data were collected via narrative-style interviews with twenty-five women with lived experience of the issues being explored. Many women noted that, when initially seeking support from agencies, they had either been offered no service or inappropriate services. They spoke of being required to engage with multiple services, constantly retelling their stories, and the competing and conflicting demands made of them by professionals. These accounts were contrasted with the service they received from the specialist women’s sector. The findings are presented in terms of their meaning for and impact upon women accessing professional support. The implications for practice are discussed: the case for professionals’ proactive sourcing/using information about women’s services operating in their locality; the importance of effective communication, both within and between agencies; and the shared benefits of working alongside the specialist women’s sector.
    • Transitional safeguarding: presenting the case for developing Making Safeguarding Personal for young people in England

      Cocker, Christine; Cooper, Adi; Holmes, Dez; Bateman, Fiona; University of East Anglia; University of Bedfordshire; Research in Practice for Adults (Emerald Group Holdings Ltd., 2021-01-25)
      Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to set out the similarities and differences between the legal frameworks for safeguarding children and adults. It presents the case for developing a Transitional Safeguarding approach to create an integrated paradigm for safeguarding young people that better meets their developmental needs and better reflects the nature of harms young people face. Design/methodology/approach: This paper draws on the key principles of the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014 and discusses their similarities and differences. It then introduces two approaches to safeguarding: Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP); and transitional safeguarding; that can inform safeguarding work with young people. Other legal frameworks that influence safeguarding practices, such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Human Rights Act 1998, are also discussed. Findings: Safeguarding practice still operates within a child/adult binary; neither safeguarding system adequately meets the needs of young people. Transitional Safeguarding advocates an approach to working with young people that is relational, developmental and contextual. MSP focuses on the wishes of the person at risk from abuse or neglect and their desired outcomes. This is also central to a Transitional Safeguarding approach, which is participative, evidence informed and promotes equalities, diversity and inclusion. Practical implications: Building a case for developing MSP for young people means that local partnerships could create the type of service that best meets local needs, whilst ensuring their services are participative and responsive to the specific safeguarding needs of individual young people. Originality/value: This paper promotes applying the principles of MSP to safeguarding practice with young people. It argues that the differences between the children and adult legislative frameworks are not so great that they would inhibit this approach to safeguarding young people.
    • Overlooked husbands: the paradox of unfree marriage in the Carolingian world

      Stone, Rachel (Wiley, 2021-01-17)
      Unfree people in the Roman world could not legally marry, while they could in the Middle Ages. This paper explores the marriage of the unfree in the Carolingian empire (750–900 CE), a society with an intense moral concern about marriage. Carolingian churchmen wrote extensively about marriage, using a strongly gendered discourse focusing on how men should approach marriage and behave as husbands. However, these moral and legal texts rarely discussed unfree marriage, even though the practice was common. It is argued that this silence reflects the persistence of late antique class‐based gender models, in which masculinity was reserved for married property holders. Although legal prohibitions on unfree marriages had ended, Carolingian moralists continued to be influenced by patristic assumptions that these were not valid relationships. These assumptions, combined with Frankish social practices that largely excluded unfree men from other key male roles, such as arms‐bearing, meant that unfree husbands were not conceptualised as sufficiently ‘manly’ to have their marriages discussed. It is only from the tenth century onwards, when images of masculinity began to fragment more along lines of social status, that authors began explicitly to state that the Christian ideas of marriage applied to all, free and unfree.
    • Pedagogical love in Finland and Australia: a study of refugee children and their teachers

      Kaukko, Mervi; Wilkinson, Jane; Kohli, Ravi K.S. (Taylor and Francis, 2021-01-05)
      After claiming asylum, refugee children work to re-build their worlds across three dimensions: safety, belonging, and success. This article examines the pedagogical practices that support this work arguing that a key, but under-examined practice draws on what we have termed pedagogical love. Building on a qualitative Finnish-Australian study, we suggest that as refugee students enter schools in their host countries, pedagogical love can be created through teacher-student interactions in a range of ways despite limited shared language. Later, pedagogical practices that foster a nurturing classroom environment and help students to build a sense of belonging become increasingly important. As students settle in their schools and societies, teachers showing a belief both in the child and their contribution to their new society are crucial. We understand that these actions may be described as teachers’ professional duty of care. Yet our findings show that teachers went beyond this duty by opening their minds and hearts to the students’ lived conditions, engaging with their histories, and constantly shaping their pedagogy accordingly. These practices, we argue, are forms of pedagogical love.
    • Young people and ‘county lines’: a contextual and social account

      Wroe, Lauren; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2021-01-04)
      This paper presents an analysis of a ‘county lines’ safeguarding partnership in a large city region of England. A critical analysis of current literature and practice responses to ‘county lines’ is followed by the presentation of an analytical framework that draws on three contextual and social theories of (child) harm. This framework is applied to the partnership work to ask: are the interconnected conditions of criminal exploitation of children via ‘county lines’ understood, do interventions target the contexts of harm, and is social and institutional harm acknowledged and addressed? The analytical framework is applied to a dataset collected by the author throughout a two year study of the project. Qualitative data collected by the author and quantitative data published by the project are coded and thematically analysed in NVivo against the analytic framework. Critical tensions are surfaced in how multi-agency, child welfare practices are applied to ‘county lines’ affected young people. Generalising these findings to the child welfare sector at large, it is proposed that the contextual dynamics of child harm via ‘county lines’ must be understood in a broader sense, including how multi-agency child welfare practices contribute to the harm experienced by young people. There are limited peer-reviewed analyses of child welfare responses to ‘county lines’. This paper contributes to that limited scholarship, extending the analysis by adopting a critical analytic framework to a regional county lines project at the juncture of future national, child welfare responses to ‘county lines’.
    • Surmounting the hostile environment: reflections on social work activism without borders

      Wroe, Lauren; Ng'andu, Bridget; King, Lynn (PM Press, 2020-12-31)
    • Alcohol use in older adults: analysis of UK survey and alcohol treatment data

      Wadd, Sarah; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-12-10)
      This report provides an analysis of data from 15,753 people aged 50 and over who took part in an alcohol survey or attended alcohol services to get help with their drinking during 2015-2020.
    • Addressing the needs of older adults receiving alcohol treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic: a qualitative study

      Seddon, Jennifer L.; Trevena, Paulina; Wadd, Sarah; Elliott, Lawrie; Dutton, Maureen; McCann, Michelle; Willmott, Sarah; Breslin, Julie; Glasgow Caledonian University; University of Bedfordshire (Drink Wise Age Well, 2020-12-09)
      This study aims to better understand the impact of the pandemic on older alcohol service users aged 55+ and alcohol service providers. The key aims of the study are to: 1 Explore the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown on older service users, including on their alcohol consumption. 2 Identify how alcohol services have adapted and supported older service users, and how staff experienced these changes. 3 Identify the short and long-term implications for service provision, and how service responses could be improved.
    • Australian social work research: an empirical study of engagement and impact

      Tilbury, Clare; Bigby, Christine; Fisher, Mike; Hughes, Mark; Griffith University; La Trobe University; University of Bedfordshire; Southern Cross University (Oxford University Press, 2020-12-03)
      Internationally, non-academic research impact is assessed by governments as part of evaluating the quality of publicly funded research. A case study method was used to investigate the non-academic impact of Australian social work research. Interviews were conducted with 15 leading researchers about outputs (research products, such as publications and reports), engagement (interaction between researchers and end-users outside academia to transfer knowledge, methods, or resources), and impact (social or economic contributions of research). Twelve case studies were prepared using a standardised template. Content analysis highlighted examples of impact, and theoretical and in-vivo coding uncovered processes of engagement and impact. Different types of engagements with research end-users influenced impact in three areas: legislation and policy; practices and service delivery; and quality of life of community members. Engagement and impact were intertwined as research altered policy discourses and illuminated hidden social issues, preparing ground for subsequent, more direct impact. Likewise, academic and non-academic impacts were intertwined as research rigour and academic credibility were perceived to leverage influence. There was no evidence of achieving impact simply through the trickle-down effect of scholarly publication. The findings broaden understandings of how research influences policy and practice and iterative and indirect relationships between engagement and impact.
    • Safeguarding children under Covid -19: what are we learning?

      Pearce, Jenny J.; Miller, Chris; University of Bedfordshire; Harrow Safeguarding Partnership (Emerald, 2020-11-30)
      This ‘view point’ identifies learning from a series of webinars held by the Association of Safeguarding Partners (www.theASP.org.uk). These webinars have been sharing information about both the challenges and opportunities presented in safeguarding children during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are advertised as open access and have been attended by UK safeguarding leads, including scrutineers of local safeguarding children partnerships (LSCPs), practitioners representing local authorities, police, health, and the Department for Education. Findings from the webinars note concerns about continuing and undetected abuse of children within and outside of the home; about the changing nature of criminal exploitation; and about the strains created by social distancing on children in families experiencing problems with poor mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and domestic abuse. Despite this, there have been some important and helpful lessons learnt, including the discovery of innovative ways of working, the rapid collation of data across partnerships and about different methods of engaging with children, young people, and their families. This ‘think piece’ gives a brief summary of these findings with suggestions about their possible impact on the future safeguarding of children.
    • Teenage pregnancy: strategies for prevention

      Hadley, Alison; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2020-11-16)
      Teenage pregnancy is a cause and consequence of inequality, limiting the life chances of young parents and their children. It is an issue of global concern, with many countries developing programmes of prevention. This review focuses on the experience of the England strategy, launched in 1999 to address the historically high rates. It is one of the few examples of a successful long term, multi-agency programme, led by national government and locally delivered which, between 1998 and 2018, reduced the under-18 conception rate by 64%. It sets out the case for helping young people delay early pregnancy, the international evidence for prevention, how evidence is translated into a ‘whole system’ approach and the priorities for further reducing inequalities. Questions are included to encourage both investigation into local programmes on teenage pregnancy prevention, and reflection on individual practice. The review concludes with summarizing the next steps for England and the lessons that can be shared more widely.
    • Evaluation of the National Female Genital Mutilation Centre

      Munro, Emily; Tinarwo, Moreblessing; Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care; University of Bedfordshire (Department for Education, 2020-11-05)
      The National Female Genital Mutilation Centre (NFGMC) aims to achieve a system change in the provision of services for children and families who are affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Harmful Practices (HPs), including breast ironing and flattening, and child abuse linked to faith or belief. The NFGMC project was funded as part of the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme to develop a system change in how local authorities respond to cases of FGM. The Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care undertook the Round 2 mixed methods evaluation.
    • Transmaterial worlding as inquiry

      Simon, Gail; Salter, Leah Karen; University of Bedfordshire (Sage, 2020-10-30)
      At the core of the chapter is this simple narrative: we live in language and in a material world. When we research human life, we cannot see it or investigate it as separate from all else around us, whether ‘man-made’ and/ or naturally occurring. Social constructionist inquiry studies how we use language to construct stories of self and other, of material and apparently immaterial, of that which is animate and apparently inanimate. The idea that humans alone story the world is anthropocentric. The world also stories humans. We are all involved in a worlding process (Barad, 2007) where the stories we generate have consequences. Inquiry that draws on social constructionist principles is guided by an ethical imperative to address practices of power by asking how stories are generated, how some truths are propagated over others, by whom, to what end. We aim to understand the relational effect of stories and how some stories carry more weight than others in different contexts.
    • Safeguarding adults and COVID-19: a sector-led improvement response

      Cooper, Adi; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald Group Holdings Ltd., 2020-10-21)
      Purpose: This study aims to describe the sector-led response to the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown in terms of safeguarding adults. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a case study method to examine a sector-led improvement response to COVID-19 and safeguarding adults. Findings: The study describes how safeguarding issues and concerns were identified and brought together, and then responded to. It reviews this initiative in the context of crisis intervention theory and discusses the achievements of this initiative regarding COVID-19 and safeguarding adults during the period April–July 2020. Originality/value: The study describes a unique joint initiative between the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which worked with the Networks of Chairs of Safeguarding Adults Boards, Safeguarding Adults Boards’ managers and Principal Social Workers. This initiative developed resources and shared information and good practice to support a response in unprecedented circumstances.
    • Joining the dots? Tackling child exploitation during Covid 19

      Racher, Anna; Brodie, Isabelle; Research in Practice for Adults; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald Publishing, 2020-10-20)
      Purpose – This paper aims to report on findings from action research undertaken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by the Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme (TCESP), a Department for Education funded programme that provides support to local areas in improving their strategic approach to child exploitation and extra-familial harm. Design/methodology/approach – The research included a scoping review of the literature, and focus groups with programme staff, strategic leaders and professionals from different services across England. To provide a strategic lens, findings were then considered in relation to TCE’s ‘‘Joining the dots’’ framework, which encourages examination of the relationships between different forms of child exploitation. Findings – The action research highlighted the emerging and tentative nature of the knowledge base relating to child exploitation and extra-familial harm in the context of Covid-19. Findings revealed that there had been innovation in the use of digital methods and direct working, integration of practical support with other forms of service delivery and in partnership working, and also considerable variation in approach across different local areas. Practical implications – Strategic leaders need to use the evidence emerging from lockdown as a basis for further interrogation of emerging data alongside the views of young people, families and communities and their wider workforce. This includes new information about changing patterns of exploitation. Digital delivery and innovation need to be supported by clear strategic guidance, based on review of the evidence regarding increased digital communication and its impact. New partnerships developed between services, data sharing and innovative ways of working that have taken place during lockdown need to be monitored and evaluated for quality and impact. Originality/value – The action research findings offer a snapshot of practice regarding child exploitation and extra-familial harm at a mid-point in the Covid-19 lockdown in England and Wales.
    • Extended care: global dialogue on policy, practice and research

      van Breda, Adrian D.; Munro, Emily; Gilligan, Robbie; Anghel, Roxana; Harder, Annemiek; Incarnato, Mariana; Mann-Feder, Varda; Refaeli, Tehila; Stohler, Renate; Storø, jan; et al. (Elsevier Ltd, 2020-10-13)
      Young people who are taken up into the care system (including foster, formal kinship and residential or group care) traditionally have to leave care at age 18, the generally accepted age of adulthood. Research globally has shown that most youth are not ready to transition to independent living at 18 and require additional support into early adulthood. One specific type of support that has gained increasing interest is extended care arrangements, including permitting young people to remain in their care placements beyond the age of 18. While widely discussed, there is a limited body of literature on the conceptualisation, implementation and evaluation of extended care, and almost no cross-national dialogue on extended care. This article aims to gather together a range of experiences on extended care and to explore the extent to which there is a cross-national consensus on the conceptualisation and operationalisation of extended care. Ten countries participated in the study, reviewing their country's extended care policy, practice and research using a common matrix. Findings reveal adoption of aspects of extended care in all countries, wide variations in how extended care is conceptualised, legislated, funded and implemented, and very little research on the effectiveness of extended care. The authors recommend resolving cross-national variations in the conceptualisation of extended care and further research on the role and contribution of extended care placements to improved outcomes for youth in diverse social, political and economic contexts.