Issues in Social Work - Child Abuse Research Paper

Overview of the theory and practice for social workers on child abuse.
# 150426 | 4,156 words | 17 sources | APA | 2012 | GB

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This paper provides an overview of the theoretical background and practical issues associated with being a social worker in relation to child abuse. First, the paper examines the theory surrounding child abuse, focusing on the changes that have occurred historically. Then, it considers perceptions of child abuse from those who deal with it on a day to day basis. The discussion explores the role of charities such as Childline, but also NHS led government institutions and how these shape both perceptions and solutions to this problem. Next, the discussion addresses the links between child abuse and other social problems, specifically lone parenthood and partner/spouse abuse. Following this is a critical review of the evidence surrounding both the theory of child abuse and also the evidence linking other social problems to child abuse. In particular, this section focuses on the need to greater understand the dynamics of child abuse based on systems theory and other social problems. The paper concludes with suggestions for making child protective services more effective.


Understanding Child Abuse - The Theory
Social Problems and Child Abuse - Examining the Link
Where Next?

From the Paper:

"A more thought out definition was offered by the sociologist Gil in 1973 which specifically highlighted the huge potential for different types of abuse that may occur and which Kempe ignored. Gil defined child abuse as 'inflicted gaps or deficits between circumstances of living which would facilitate the optimal development of children to which they should be entitled, and their circumstances' (Gil 1973 p.346). In other words that abuse is anything which does not grant the child all of the things that would be necessary for them to grow up and develop in a healthy manner. This definition is better in that it is wider, including things such as neglect, as much as physical abuse. However, this definition also highlights a further problem that occurs when one tries to define such a problematic concept. Namely that the scope for potential misdemeanours here is particularly wide. How does one then go on to define what exactly is required in order to provide a child with their optimal development? Interpretations of what this constitutes are undoubtedly wide and therefore so too are interpretations of what constitutes child abuse."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brekke, J. (1987). Detecting wife and child abuse in clinical settings. Social Casework, 1(68), 332-338.
  • British Association of Social Workers (2002, April 11). Code of Ethics. London: British Association of Social Workers.
  • Ciccinelli, J (1991). Proceedings of the symposium on risk assessment in child protective services. Washington DC: National Center on Abuse and Neglect.
  • Cleaver, H. Wattam, C. Cawson, P. (1998). Assessing risk in child protection: summary of research and findings. London: NSPCC.
  • Corby, Brian. (2005). Child Abuse: Towards a Knowledge Base. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Issues in Social Work - Child Abuse (2012, February 16) Retrieved October 16, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Issues in Social Work - Child Abuse" 16 February 2012. Web. 16 October. 2019. <>