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Assessing for bruises on the soul: Identifying and evidencing childhood emotional abuse

Assessing for bruises on the soul: Identifying and evidencing childhood emotional abuse

North, Gemma ORCID: 0000-0001-5080-6115 (2019) Assessing for bruises on the soul: Identifying and evidencing childhood emotional abuse. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 41 (3). pp. 302-320. ISSN 0964-9069 (Print), 1469-9621 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/09649069.2019.1627086)

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Abstract

The term ‘emotional abuse’ is acknowledged by law in the Children Act 1989 and refers to the wider social concept of harm that occurs in the psychosocial domain. Emotional abuse is a contested notion and a form of harm that statutory child protection social workers find difficult to recognise and gather evidence of. Early preventative intervention approaches, which occur outside the legal system, are the preferred course of action in work with emotional abuse. However, child protection social workers may use their statutory powers and duties to implement interventions when cases are deemed to require attention within legal frameworks.Professionals routinely fear legal work in cases of emotional abuse, feeling inadequately equipped to engage effectively with the law. This article draws on rich research data, gathered for an Economic and Social Research Council funded doctoral project. The data offers an original perspective on the interaction between social work and law, adding to existing literature on the frictions that exists. Using psychosocial methods, the research explores social worker experiences of identifying and evidencing emotional abuse, with particular attention to the application of ‘attachment theory’. The article shines a light on some practice complexities of identifying and evidencing emotional abuse.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emotional abuse, child protection, attachment theory, psychosocial methods
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2020 02:53
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: REF 1
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/28458

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