Everybody involved in the UK Higher Education Sector knows that Toby Young has been recruited to the board of the Office for Students. They will also know that he has had to delete thousands of offensive tweets, mainly about the size of women’s breasts, homophobia, snobbery and disablism. The tweets are abhorrent. His published views on “progressive eugenics” and his contempt for many of his fellow citizens would usually bar him from holding public office. I know of no school or local authority who could appoint a man with this kind of public profile. However, I want to move the debate forward. I don’t want the discussion to simply be about how terrible/brave/caustic/hard-working Toby Young is. I want it to be about how the government has recruited to a post that is supposed to be about putting “the student interest at heart” and promoting fair access to HE. I want to hold the government to account in the way that other public bodies are. Therefore, I have put together this petition, which if signed by enough people, will force a response from the government about the process. If you live in the UK, please sign and share as widely as possible:
This is the abstract from a recent paper written with Kate Cook at Manchester Metropolitan University:
This paper explores the concept of trust in relation to social work, child protection and work on domestic abuse. Trust is a complex notion. Borrowing from the arguments of Behnia that trust is the outcome of a process, the paper uses the talk of women who have experienced social work in the context of domestic abuse and child protection to consider the barriers to trust building. The evidence is gathered from three focus groups which formed part of an evaluation of a ‘Freedom Programme’. The findings highlight issues with trust building that start with the context of living with abuse and work outwards to considerations of professional power, social work systems and wider inequality, suggesting an ecological approach to the trust-building process. The key argument is that social workers will struggle to gain trust within a system that sees domestic abuse as a hurdle that mothers must overcome, rather than a trauma through which they should be supported. The experiences of the women in this research, however, do show that trust and respect for voluntary service are achievable and that practice which builds alliances with the voluntary sector and service users could develop more trusting relationships.
The full paper can be found at the British Journal of Social Work.
Ever since I read this story (here) about you, a girl that was raped at the age of 12 I have wanted to reach out to you. Of course, I can’t. Because one of the few things our legal system gets right is the anonymity of victims of sexual assault. However, I don’t need to know your name, where you live or what you look like to write this letter.
There are lots of ways I could write to you to let you know that I care. Continue reading →
My first blog in a long time and there is a good reason why it has taken so long – I have been reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and it is huge and I have very little time for reading for pleasure.
I have finished reading the novel at much the same time as the #7daysofaction campaign has been launched. #7daysofaction is a social media campaign to raise awareness of adults with learning disabilities who are being warehoused in Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) across the UK. When I first started research disability in the 1990s, I was particularly inspired by Jenny Morris book – Pride against Prejudice and when considering the right to family life, I am always reminded of these words:
“Powerlessness characterises the experience of residential care and the nature of institutionalism affects even those of us who are not in residential care. The possibility of institutionalism hangs over many disabled people living in our own homes, fuelled by the fear that one day the support which makes our independence possible will disappear, or that an increase in functional limitations will prove too much for whatever resources are available to us” (Morris, 1991: 127)Continue reading →
Within a global profession with a stated definition that includes “promoting social change and development, social cohesion and the empowerment and liberation of people”, it would be expected that the issue of domestic abuse would be integral to the training and role of all social workers. This article reports on research, which highlighted both a lack of understanding of the role of adult social worker within cases of domestic abuse and also a desire for further training around the issue. However, this article sets out how the current UK (in particular, English) context of social work marginalises the issue of domestic abuse within practice with adults. This marginalisation has been achieved through the construction of domestic abuse as a children and families issue and limited duties, powers and resources within statutory work to support victims/survivors in their own right, rather than as “failing” parents. However, the article argues that the role of social work education should be wider than teaching to the current policy or procedures and instead encourage a wider appreciation of the social, historical and political context. The article concludes with tentative suggestions for how domestic abuse could be considered within the social work curriculum for adult practitioners. This is in acknowledgement that social workers can be well positioned for the detection, investigation and support of those experiencing abuse.
Rachel Robbins, Concetta Banks, Hugh McLaughlin, Claire Bellamy & Debbie Thackray (2016): Is Domestic Abuse an Adult Social Work Issue?, Social Work Education, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2016.1140733 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2016.1140733
To access the full document, you may need to be registered with a university library or contact me for further details.
Last week I was lucky enough to be able to see Carol with a group of friends at my locally refurbished cinema. It was an opportunity to catch up and be entertained. After watching the film, I didn’t think that I would write about it. This is not to say that I did not enjoy the film. It is beautiful and seductive and as someone who is easily distracted by well-cut clothes, I would definitely recommend the film. However, it was not until I wrote about control in the last blog, that I found something to say about the film beyond the aesthetic. Continue reading →