Is Domestic Abuse an Adult Social Care Issue?

This is the link to an article I co-wrote with researchers at MMU about adult social care and domestic abuse, published in the Journal of Social Work Education:


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:

To access the full document, you may need to be registered with a university library or contact me for further details.

Carol (2015)

Director: Todd Haynes

** This blog contains spoilers**

carol-movie-posterLast 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

Carmen Bugan – Burying the Typewriter (2012)

This blog comes after three events.

carmen buganFirst, the criminalisation of coercive control under the 2015 Serious Crimes Act.

The second, a short conversation with a much-loved ex-colleague (paraphrased below).

Me: “So, I work for a centre researching inter-personal violence”

Him: “Yes, I know, but isn’t all violence inter-personal?”

Me: “I guess so, but as opposed to state violence”

Him: “Good point”

Third, I finished reading Carmen Bugan’s Burying the Typewriter. Continue reading

He Named me Malala (2015)

malala posterMalala Yousafzai is a remarkable woman, with a spirit and voice that needs to be acknowledged and heard.  What happens to this voice when it is mediated through the lens of a documentary maker?  He Named Me Malala is a fascinating film, through which Malala’s charm and courage shines, but it is not perfect.  It starts with the mythologised context of Malala’s naming.  Her father chose her name which is from the Afghan folk heroine Malalai who rallied Pashtun fighters against the British in 1880.   This provides a context of colonialism and conflict and a narrative of defiance.  There was a powerful scene, narrated by her father (over animation) where on seeing the family tree populated entirely by men, he draws a line and adds her name.  For me, this is what that act symbolised:

“Women’s history has a dual goal: to restore women to history and to restore our history to women.” (Kelly-Gadol, 1987: 15)

Continue reading

Warm Bodies (2013)

warm bodiesI haven’t Facebooked or Tweeted about the atrocities in France and the Lebanon that occurred this weekend. Like many others, my mind is whirling trying to find understanding and space to acknowledge my own emotions. So, whilst I might like and share others posts, my own ideas are too muddled to articulate. Therefore, on Saturday night I did what I usually do in these sorts of circumstances.  I retreated to Rom Com. This Saturday, it was Warm Bodies. Continue reading

Ayelet Waldman – Love and Treasure (2014)

love and treasureA week after reading this book, I attended a #RefugeesWelcome demonstration in Picadilly Gardens in Manchester.  I have been an occasional attender of such events over a number of years, but the size of this event was greater.  It was just after the distressing pictures of a drowned, young, Syrian boy, Aylan Al-Kurdi, had been on the front pages of the newspapers and filled up my Facebook page and Twitter feed.  (I won’t reproduce the photograph here.  I know that if my child died, that I would not want her corpse to be used for political effect and more importantly, that I probably would have the power to prevent that happening).  I attend these events, I suspect from a purely selfish perspective.  I don’t want to be one of the “bad guys.”

Yet, as Waldman’s novel lets me know, choices about being on the right side are not easy. Continue reading

Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013)

karen joy fowlerSo the first decision I have to make in writing about this book is whether to disclose or not.  At the centre of the book is a “twist”, a secret, which the book only fully reveals about a third of the way through. I did not know this before I started reading and I think this enhanced my experience, so there are no spoilers here.  I loved this book and I want others to read it too.

This, however, makes the writing difficult.  How do I write about the book without acknowledging the weirdness of a central relationship?  Simple, I make it short.  Continue reading