Daily Archives: May 25, 2009

Monitoring families in case of abuse?

You can read reports HERE. Ian Dowty has written a pretty good piece until you get to the questions. I am not at all sure what he is asking us to consider, but it comes across as expecting families to agree to being monitored just in case a child is being abused.

It would be lovely to believe that dear Ed Balls and his minions really do care about children being abused within their families. It would be even more lovely to believe that they cared about any abuse children suffer. But they don’t do they?

It is well documented that a huge amount of abuse goes on in schools. Balls et all could do something about this but choose not to. It is also well documented that teachers neither spot nor report children who are being abused at home.  This is not a poor reflection on teachers who have on average 30 children to field at any one time.

Children who are abused are not known for their forthrightness on what happens to them. It can take years before a child can bring themselves to ask for help or disclose abuse. Many don’t disclose until well into adulthood. Even physical abuse can be difficult to spot, let alone emotional and psychological abuse. Neglect is notoriously difficult to prove.

There is an attitude of ‘Someone should have noticed’ “someone ELSE should do something’ that makes helping children in horrible situations more and more difficult.

One other major area of concern is the complete lack of trust that so many people have for professionals working in the field. This is partly thanks to media hype and partly because there genuinely does seem to be a more bullying approach to vulnerable families across the board.  I know more than one family where they will not ask for the help they need because last time they did they were treated appallingly.

When this happens the usual mantra is “Oh it’s a training issue.” Personally, while I partly agree, I don’t see how basic human decency, good manners and treating others with respect can be ‘trained’ into adults. It’s something parents train their children into.

But I do personally believe that moving the training of nurses and social workers into Universities and away from on site training was a huge blunder. I saw a shocking change in calibre of staff coming through when I was a unit manager. We had 2nd and 3rd year students who had NO IDEA how to talk with patients and certainly couldn’t sit with someone distressed in any way. They couldn’t run a shift and wouldn’t help bath anyone (it was beneath their dignity. You don’t do a degree to bath an old woman who has poo on her apparently).

More and more of the social workers I had to work with were full of theory and utterly useless at practice. Paperwork was mountainous and meaningless.

Abuse will never be stopped. So long as humans do evil things, abuse will happen. But it certainly wont be helped by more paperwork and unskilled people ‘monitoring’ families on the off chance that they just might somehow spot abuse. The rise in false allegations and the massive damage to innocent families all this will bring about is not even being mentioned!