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Free Content Social workers' challenges in the assessment of child abuse and maltreatment: intersections of class and ethnicity in child protection cases

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Defining and assessing child abuse and maltreatment has long been a challenge to both researchers and practitioners in social work. Taking an intersectional perspective, this article explores the meaning of class and ethnicity in professionals' investigations and assessments in child protection referrals. Overall, findings show that class power was particularly actualised for caseworkers facing parents with high social status. In these cases, the parents often resisted the investigation and the caseworkers therefore had difficulties in disclosing or defining the abuse. In comparison, culture was often made relevant in cases involving minority ethnic parents, where abuse was often actualised as corporal punishment. This practice tended to be seen as a cultural issue rather than related to social problems. In these cases, class power was not articulated. The article sheds light on intersections of class and ethnicity that may affect social work practice with children at risk of abuse and maltreatment.
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Keywords: CHILD ABUSE AND MALTREATMENT; CLASS; ETHNICITY; INTERSECTIONALITY; SOCIAL WORK

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 1, 2017

This article was made available online on August 23, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Social workers’ challenges in the assessment of child abuse and maltreatment: intersections of class and ethnicity in child protection cases".

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  • An International Journal

    Critical and Radical Social Work is an exciting new journal that will promote debate and scholarship around a range of engaged social work themes. The journal publishes papers which seek to analyse and respond to issues, such as the impact of global neo-liberalism on social welfare; austerity and social work; social work and social movements; social work, inequality and oppression, and understanding and responding to global social problems (such as war, disasters and climate change).

    It welcomes contributions that consider and question themes relating to the definition of social work and social work professionalism, that look at ways in which organic and 'indigenous' practice can expand concepts of the social work project and that consider alternative and radical histories of social work activity. As a truly international journal it actively encourages contributions from academics, scholars and practitioners from across the global village.

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