Recent Submissions

  • #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.
  • ‘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.
  • 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.
  • ‘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.
  • 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.
  • Looked after young people and CSE: a view from Northern Ireland

    Beckett, Helen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013-09-06)
    Exploration of relationship between looked after young people and child sexual exploitaiton, drawing on research from Northern Ireland
  • 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
  • ‘They need to see the people they are affecting by their decision-making’: developing participatory advocacy with young people on sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia : monitoring and evaluation report

    Bovarnick, Silvie; Cody, Claire; University of Bedfordshire; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05-01)
    In 2019, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) celebrated its 30th anniversary. The UNCRC grants children the right to participation, to have a say on matters affecting them, and to be heard. On 18 November 2019 – the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse – the Council of Europe prioritised ‘children’s participation’, emphasising the importance of ‘empowering children to stop sexual violence’. Children and young people’s participation are high on the international policy agenda. The reality frequently lags behind such political aspirations. In practice, the right to participation is not extended to all children and young people equally. The significant practical and ethical challenges associated with engaging vulnerable groups in participatory initiatives mean that children and young people affected by sexual violence are often sidelined from such opportunities. As a result, the highly relevant perspectives of ‘experts by experience’ tend to be marginalised from processes of knowledge-creation and decision-making. However, their perspectives are key to developing targeted responses that reflect the needs and priorities of those affected by the issue. As professionals and organisations, we need to expand our skill set and knowledge about how to safely involve children and young people with lived experience in participatory work. This requires resources as well as professional capacity and confidence building.
  • Learning from the experts: young people’s views on their mental health and emotional wellbeing needs following sexual abuse in adolescence: briefing paper, March 2021

    Allnock, Debra; Beckett, Helen; Soares, Claire; Warrington, Camille; Hagell, Ann; Starbuck, Lindsay; University of Bedfordshire; Association for Young People's Health (University of Bedfordshire, 2021-03-01)
    There is a recognised gap in knowledge and understanding about how the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people are affected by experiences of sexual abuse during adolescence. By sexual abuse we mean contact- and noncontact activities, online-facilitated abuse, abuse inside and outside the family, and abuse by adults and other young people. The unique nature of adolescence means that young people experiencing sexual abuse in this phase of life may have different needs to younger children or adults. We need to know better – from them – about what these are and find ways of helping that are sensitive to the impacts of sexual abuse in this life stage and the demands of their everyday lives. This briefing shares some of the key messages that young people who took part in our participatory research told us about their mental health and emotional wellbeing needs following sexual abuse in adolescence.
  • 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.
  • ‘They believe this’ : taking pupils’ religious backgrounds into account in relationship and sex education

    Shuker, Lucie; Beckett, Helen; Faisal, Rehana; Newlands, Fiona; Lynch, Amy; Apeland, Gry; Faiths Against Child Sexual Exploitation; University of Bedfordshire; Youthscape Centre for Research (University of Bedfordshire, 2021-10-01)
    This research explored young people’s experiences of, and views on, the place of religion in Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). We surveyed 157 15-19-year-olds from 29 different secondary schools, including those with and with no religious faith, and spoke to 16 Christians and Muslims aged 18-21 in four online focus groups.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A transformative learning approach to child protection with applied social studies undergraduates at a university in England

    Allnock, Debra; University of Bedfordshire (ISETL, 2018-12-31)
    Learning child protection requires more of students than simply understanding ‘what to do’ in legislative and policy terms. Students must reflect on their implicit belief systems to effectively respond to child protection concerns as future professionals. This is an instructional article describing a scenario-based survey methodology to increase students’ awareness of the ways in which they understand child abuse concerns. First, the important role of universities in readying students to work in the human services is acknowledged, along with a comment on the state of published literature in this area. Second, I set out the theoretical framework informing the approach, drawing on Worldview concept and Mezirow’s Transformational Learning Theory, which underpins a social justice approach to education. Third, the instructional methodology is detailed. Finally, the outcome of the session is presented in a series of thematic reflections. The paper concludes that the methodology adopted is effective and powerful in supporting students to increase their awareness of their own worldviews and how they relate to broader national child protection policies and practices. Adequate preparation of students, planning for student incivility, and, importantly, self-reflection on the part of the lecturer are key tools that should be considered if lecturers plan to adopt this method.
  • Sexual abuse of children by people in organisations: what offenders can teach us about protection

    Erooga, Marcus; Allnock, Debra; Telford, Paula (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012-07-04)
    Several recent high profile abuse cases, including The Little Ted's Nursery case, have brought the abuse of children by workers and volunteers into greater public awareness. The traditional approach to protecting children - screening to keep offenders out - is important, but is not enough. Potential risk can come from a wide range of individuals, many who contradict our expectations, including female abusers like nursery worker Vanessa George and foster carer Eunice Spry, and those who may not be aware of their own capacity to abuse. At the same time, social networking, text messaging and e-mail have eroded traditional boundaries, and supervising contact between adults and children is no longer as easy as it once was. Creating Safer Organisations brings together practitioners, academics and researchers, who suggest new interviewing approaches and other situational prevention measures to promote a culture of appropriate behaviour, informed by the most up to date research with sexual offenders. This is an accessible resource for those seeking to ensure that they have taken all possible steps to safeguard the children and young people they are responsible for.
  • Exploring the relationship between neglect and adult-perpetrated intra-familial child sexual abuse

    Allnock, Debra; NSPCC and Research in Practice (NSPCC and Research in Practice, 2016-11-04)
    This report is the second of three linked evidence scopes commissioned by Action for Children and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) with Research in Practice. It aims to explore the relationship between neglect and intra-familial child sexual abuse (IFCSA) by addressing three issues: * Do neglect and intra-familial child sexual abuse co-occur, and if so, to what extent? * How might features, types and impacts of neglect increase the vulnerability of children and young people to perpetrators' methods of targeting, grooming, abusing and silencing children in the family environment? * How might IFCSA contribute to neglect? The author notes that despite neglect being the most commonly reported form of maltreatment, research on CSA is far more prevalent than on neglect. She observes that although research in this field has its limitations, enough information is available to analyse how neglect may increase a child’s vulnerability to IFCSA, and how IFCSA might contribute to increased risk of neglect. In conclusion, she makes recommendations for conducting future research in this area and for safeguarding potential victims of IFCSA.
  • Intra-familial child sexual abuse: risk factors, indicators and protective factors: practice tool (2018)

    Allnock, Debra (Research in Practice, 2018-10-04)
    This resource is designed to support practitioners to use research evidence to structure their thinking in relation to intra-familial child sexual abuse (IFCSA). Where a case is open to children’s social care it may be that: * There are concerns about IFCSA, but no physical evidence to verify sexual abuse is occurring/has occurred nor has a child told someone about abuse. * A child protection case (involving any form of maltreatment) is being ‘stepped down’ but concerns about IFCSA remain.
  • The role of police in responding to child and adult vulnerability: a meta-analysis of 126 reviews of death and serious harm

    Allnock, Debra; Dawson, J.; Rawden, H.; The Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme (Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme, 2020-08-01)
    This report presents key findings from research into the police role in serious cases of significant harm and death, carried out by the Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme (VKPP). The research aimed to understand the ways in which police, as a statutory partner, feature in reviews of serious cases of significant harm or death in children and adults; key gaps in police practice; and to understand the cumulative learning for police across different review types, involving a range of vulnerabilities. Reviews of serious cases tend to be examined as separate and distinct sources of learning. However, there is potential for considerable cross-over among reviews which can maximise the learning. This inclusive approach has allowed for the consideration of practice that might be common across reviews, but play out differently within the contexts of responses to adults versus children, or in relation to different vulnerabilities, for example.
  • 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

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