Special Issue "Contemporary Developments in Child Protection"

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A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Nigel Parton

Professor of Applied Childhood Studies, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 01484 472761
Interests: chid welfare; child protection; social work; social policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The last forty years has witnessed increasing public, political and media concern about the problem of child maltreatment and what to do about it. This is now evident in most jurisdictions and is receiving serious attention from many international and trans-national organisations. While the (re)discovery of the problem in the USA in the 1960s was particularly associated with the ‘battered baby syndrome’ this has now broadened to include: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, abuse on the internet, child trafficking, sexual exploitation, and to effect all children and young people and not just young babies. Similarly the focus of attention has broadened from intra-familial abuse to abuse in a whole variety of settings including schools, day care, the church and the wider community. There has also been a broadening of concern from not simply protecting children and young people from serious harm but to also prevent the impairment of their health and development and to ensure that they are able to grow up in circumstances which are consistent with the provision of safe and effective care so that all children can achieve the best outcomes.

In the process the laws, policies, practices and systems which have been developed to try to identify and prevent child maltreatment have become much more wide-ranging and complex and have themselves been subject to continual criticism and review. Social workers, health and education workers, the police and other criminal justice workers as well as members of the wider community are all seen to have key roles to play in both protecting children and young people and assessing and monitoring actual and potential perpetrators.

While these issues have been subject to often heated and high profile media and political debate they have not received sustained analytic and research based attention in the social sciences. The issue of child protection is often seen as somewhat marginal to a whole range of social science disciplines.  The purpose of this Special Issue is to try and act as something of a corrective to this. It encourages the submission of papers from a wide range of disciplines including law, sociology, politics, criminology, psychology, anthropology, education, social work, social policy and gender studies as well as contributions which are cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary.

Professor Nigel Parton
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Print Edition available!
A Print Edition of this Special Issue is available here.

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Pages: 10, 196
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Keywords

  • child abuse
  • child protection
  • child maltreatment
  • public protection
  • the role of state, family and community
  • family support
  • social surveillance
  • risk to children

 

Published Papers (30 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Assessment in Kinship Foster Care: A New Tool to Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 1-17; doi:10.3390/socsci4010001
Received: 22 September 2014 / Accepted: 2 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
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Abstract
Placement in kinship family has existed informally throughout time. There are many countries in which kinship family care is the most common measure used for child protection. However, it is a subject of continuous debate. One of the major issues is that kinship
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Placement in kinship family has existed informally throughout time. There are many countries in which kinship family care is the most common measure used for child protection. However, it is a subject of continuous debate. One of the major issues is that kinship foster care is relied upon without carrying out an evaluation study of the family; often the child is placed directly with grandparents and uncles simply because they are direct family. This article presents an assessment tool to evaluate extended families in order to ensure the welfare of the child. The tool was created as a result of the cooperative research of 126 professionals from seven regions of Spain. The tool can identify the strengths and weaknesses of families by considering six factors: personal characteristics, the coverage of basic needs, collaboration with professionals, the family structure and dynamics, the relationship between family, child, and biological family, and, finally, the attitude towards the placement. The assessment tool is innovative and introduces the opportunity to consider the skills of the kinship foster care family, the needs of support, and which families are unfit to take care of the child. To conclude, the tool tries to overcome one of the principal disadvantages of kinship foster care: the lack of knowledge about the kinship family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Regional Frameworks for Safeguarding Children: The Role of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 948-961; doi:10.3390/socsci3040948
Received: 10 September 2014 / Revised: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 6 November 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014
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Abstract
This article discusses the safeguarding movement in the context of child protection. After providing it’s key principles and precepts, the relevant provisions of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which link to safeguarding are stipulated, as well as
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This article discusses the safeguarding movement in the context of child protection. After providing it’s key principles and precepts, the relevant provisions of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which link to safeguarding are stipulated, as well as a brief description given of the mandate of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Some aspects of the practical working methods of the Committee are thereafter considered. With reference to the Committee’s interface with non-governmental organisations, some proposals concerning the Committee and the safeguarding movement are put forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Current Debates on Variability in Child Welfare Decision-Making: A Selected Literature Review
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 916-940; doi:10.3390/socsci3040916
Received: 28 September 2014 / Revised: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 12 November 2014 / Published: 19 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article considers selected drivers of decision variability in child welfare decision-making and explores current debates in relation to these drivers. Covering the related influences of national orientation, risk and responsibility, inequality and poverty, evidence-based practice, constructions of abuse and its causes, domestic
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This article considers selected drivers of decision variability in child welfare decision-making and explores current debates in relation to these drivers. Covering the related influences of national orientation, risk and responsibility, inequality and poverty, evidence-based practice, constructions of abuse and its causes, domestic violence and cognitive processes, it discusses the literature in regards to how each of these influences decision variability. It situates these debates in relation to the ethical issue of variability and the equity issues that variability raises. I propose that despite the ecological complexity that drives decision variability, that improving internal (within-country) decision consistency is still a valid goal. It may be that the use of annotated case examples, kind learning systems, and continued commitments to the social justice issues of inequality and individualisation can contribute to this goal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Practicing from Theory: Thinking and Knowing to “Do” Child Protection Work
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 893-915; doi:10.3390/socsci3040893
Received: 4 July 2014 / Revised: 18 October 2014 / Accepted: 21 October 2014 / Published: 13 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1190 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Child protection practice in much of the Western world is performed using some specific models with limited attention paid to the underpinning of informing worldviews, theories for practice (explanatory theories) and theories of practice (intervention theories). Over the past few years we have
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Child protection practice in much of the Western world is performed using some specific models with limited attention paid to the underpinning of informing worldviews, theories for practice (explanatory theories) and theories of practice (intervention theories). Over the past few years we have explored how child protection practice may be undertaken using a child rights perspective and community development principles and practices. From this we have developed a model which we here seek to support with worldviews, explanatory and intervention theories. We hope this theoretical framework answers some of the complexity found in the “wicked problem” of child abuse and provides guidance to the practice of protecting children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Who Owns Child Abuse?
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 854-870; doi:10.3390/socsci3040854
Received: 16 July 2014 / Revised: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 6 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Expectations of contemporary child protection apparatuses are strongly influenced by beliefs inherited from the nineteenth century child rescue movement. In particular, the belief that child abuse determination is obvious. However, this assumption fails to make a distinction between nineteenth century’s emphasis on impoverished
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Expectations of contemporary child protection apparatuses are strongly influenced by beliefs inherited from the nineteenth century child rescue movement. In particular, the belief that child abuse determination is obvious. However, this assumption fails to make a distinction between nineteenth century’s emphasis on impoverished environments and the twentieth century introduction of the pathological child abuser. Moreover, the proliferation of kinds of child abuse, and the need to distinguish child abusers from non-abusers, means knowledge is now spread across an array of disciplines and professions, which necessarily destabilizes the definition of child abuse. The increasing exposure of alternate care systems as potentially abusive has similarly destabilized the old common sense solution to neglected children—namely removal. Finally, as uncertainty increases, and definitions become more divergent, the question of what child abuse is, and what should be done about it, becomes increasingly politicized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Child Welfare and Successful Reunification through the Socio-Educative Process: Training Needs among Biological Families in Spain
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 809-826; doi:10.3390/socsci3040809
Received: 22 July 2014 / Revised: 22 September 2014 / Accepted: 25 September 2014 / Published: 22 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (83 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Spain, an average of 480 children per 100,000 is receiving some type of temporary care, and the reunification process is typically lengthy. Providing the biological family with specific training as part of the reunification process is key to solving this problem. Although
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In Spain, an average of 480 children per 100,000 is receiving some type of temporary care, and the reunification process is typically lengthy. Providing the biological family with specific training as part of the reunification process is key to solving this problem. Although previous research and social policy have emphasized the importance of such training to reunification, the training has not been fully implemented in Spain. This study investigates the specific training needs during the transition phase of the reunification process in which the child prepares to return home. The data were obtained from focus groups and through semi-structured interviews with 135 participants: 63 professionals from the Child Protection System and 42 parents and 30 children who have undergone or are currently undergoing reunification. A qualitative methodology and Atlas.ti software were used to analyze the interview content. The results indicate three specific training needs: (a) understanding the reasons for reunification and the reunification phases; (b) empowerment strategies; and (c) social support. These findings suggest the best practices for formulating specific support programs for this population during the reunification transition period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Child Protection and Vulnerable Families: Trends and Issues in the Australian Context
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 785-808; doi:10.3390/socsci3040785
Received: 11 August 2014 / Revised: 25 September 2014 / Accepted: 26 September 2014 / Published: 21 October 2014
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Abstract
This paper will provide an overview and analysis of developments in child protection and out of home care in Australia. It will outline early responses to perceived inadequate parenting to provide the historical and policy contexts of contemporary debates on, and responses to,
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This paper will provide an overview and analysis of developments in child protection and out of home care in Australia. It will outline early responses to perceived inadequate parenting to provide the historical and policy contexts of contemporary debates on, and responses to, the care and protection of children and young people. Child maltreatment affects a large number of children across Australia. The statistics of reported maltreatment reflect striking increases over time. Over the last decade, several public inquiries into the operation of child protection have been undertaken in a number of state jurisdictions following which some states have embarked on large scale reform of legislation and policy, to either strengthen the child protection mandate, or refocus services. Some exemplars of significant reform in selected states will be cited. Some of the themes that will be explored in the paper will include the impact of major state based public inquiries, overseas reviews and research on child protection policy and practice; the changing balance between orientations to child protection and family support, the parameters of out of home care, the high levels of governmental intervention experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, and a critical appraisal of major transformations in protective care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Addressing the Clinical Burden of Child Physical Abuse and Neglect in a Large Metropolitan Region: Improving the Evidence-Base
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 771-784; doi:10.3390/socsci3040771
Received: 23 July 2014 / Revised: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 8 October 2014 / Published: 20 October 2014
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Abstract
Children at risk of abuse are more likely to be hospitalized and utilize health services according to international research. In a large metropolitan health region in New South Wales, Australia, there was little known of the clinical burden of child physical abuse and/or
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Children at risk of abuse are more likely to be hospitalized and utilize health services according to international research. In a large metropolitan health region in New South Wales, Australia, there was little known of the clinical burden of child physical abuse and/or neglect (PAN), or of systems for clinical assessment of children presenting with abuse/neglect. We aimed to identify the number of children presenting with suspected PAN to emergency departments (EDs) and paediatric services in this region, to determine enablers and barriers to assessment for children with PAN presenting to frontline services, and to identify best practices to address gaps. We collated available data on children presenting to EDs and paediatric services with suspected PAN in 2007. We interviewed 36 health professionals from nine hospitals and 12 statutory child protection professionals, across the region before undertaking relevant document analysis. Of 64,700 paediatric ED presentations, a quarter were due to injury; 2%–5% of these were due to maltreatment. Clinician estimates and assessments of PAN varied widely; health and welfare workers identified major practice gaps, as well as good local practice. We identified feasible minimum standards for improving clinical assessment and follow-up for children presenting with PAN, given the right organizational support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Dealing with Risk in Child and Family Social Work: From an Anxious to a Reflexive Professional?
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 758-770; doi:10.3390/socsci3040758
Received: 26 August 2014 / Revised: 26 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 October 2014 / Published: 16 October 2014
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Abstract
The rhetoric of risk has become a prominent issue in the field of child and family social work. As a consequence, an emerging politics of fear has re-oriented this field towards managing, controlling, and securing social work practice against risk, rather than responding
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The rhetoric of risk has become a prominent issue in the field of child and family social work. As a consequence, an emerging politics of fear has re-oriented this field towards managing, controlling, and securing social work practice against risk, rather than responding meaningfully to the needs and concerns of children and families. In the available body of research, it is argued that this general tendency creates “anxious” professionals. As a response, different scholars refer to the need to “speak back to fear”. In this article, we analyze this claim in the context of a currently ongoing large-scale policy reform, named Integrated Youth Care (IYC), in the field of child welfare and protection in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium). The debate on dealing with risk is often limited to an organizational and methodological discussion. We assert that we should reorient this debate and make a plea for a radical approach of applying a welfare perspective in child welfare and protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle A Critical Examination of Child Protection Initiatives in Sport Contexts
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 742-757; doi:10.3390/socsci3040742
Received: 3 July 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 14 October 2014
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Abstract
With the broadening of focus on child maltreatment beyond intra-familial settings, there is growing awareness of occurrences of maltreatment within the sport context. Millions of children participate in organized sport annually, and despite a tendency to view sport as a context by which
[...] Read more.
With the broadening of focus on child maltreatment beyond intra-familial settings, there is growing awareness of occurrences of maltreatment within the sport context. Millions of children participate in organized sport annually, and despite a tendency to view sport as a context by which to enhance the overall health and development of children, it is also a context in which children are vulnerable to experiences of maltreatment. The well-documented power ascribed to coaches, the unregulated nature of sport and a “win-at-all-costs” approach contribute to a setting that many propose is conducive to maltreatment. A number of high profile cases of sexual abuse of athletes across several countries in the 1990s prompted sport organizations to respond with the development of child protection measures. This study examined seven child protection in sport initiatives in terms of the extent to which they originated from research, had content that was consistent with scholarly work and were evaluated empirically. The findings indicated that these initiatives were not empirically derived nor evaluated. Recommendations are made to more closely align research with these initiatives in order to protect children and to promote a safe and growth-enhancing experience for young participants in sport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Child Protection Victims and the “Evil Institutions”
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 726-741; doi:10.3390/socsci3040726
Received: 23 June 2014 / Revised: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 17 September 2014 / Published: 10 October 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (76 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Dutch child protection system has been the target of harsh criticism in recent decades. The legitimacy of child protection services seems to have eroded. In this article, we analyze this changing legitimacy of child protection against the background of declining parental authority
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The Dutch child protection system has been the target of harsh criticism in recent decades. The legitimacy of child protection services seems to have eroded. In this article, we analyze this changing legitimacy of child protection against the background of declining parental authority and in relation to the disappearance of positive pedagogical ideologies and the mainly bureaucratic response of child protection agencies. Two recent inquiries in the Netherlands on child sexual abuse within child protection-related services have emphasized the position of children as vulnerable victims of negative pedagogical practices, mirroring a general trend of “victimization”. It is concluded that reinforcement of the professional role of child protection workers may be a start towards building new trust in child protection and establishing a newfound legitimacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Protecting Children and Adolescents in Uruguay: Civil Society’s Role in Policy Reform
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 705-725; doi:10.3390/socsci3040705
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 September 2014 / Published: 9 October 2014
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Abstract
This article analyzes the advocacy efforts of civil societal actors in Uruguay who have sought to promote the rights of children. I discuss the strategies that members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) used to achieve a greater presence in debates leading to significant policy
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This article analyzes the advocacy efforts of civil societal actors in Uruguay who have sought to promote the rights of children. I discuss the strategies that members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) used to achieve a greater presence in debates leading to significant policy changes in the area of child protection. Child advocates achieved relatively high levels of political mobilization and influence throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. The analysis focuses on their multi-year campaign to reform the Children’s Code of 1934, which culminated in the adoption of a new Code of Childhood and Adolescence in 2004. I argue that two variables help explain their participation in policy making: effective issue framing and successful alliance building. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Child Protection System from the Perspective of Young People: Messages from 3 Studies
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 687-704; doi:10.3390/socsci3040687
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 7 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 7 October 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (90 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article reports findings and reflections based on the results of three different research projects conducted between 2008 and 2013 and focusing on the perspective of young care leavers in Spain. The overall aim was to examine these young people’s perceptions and evaluations
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This article reports findings and reflections based on the results of three different research projects conducted between 2008 and 2013 and focusing on the perspective of young care leavers in Spain. The overall aim was to examine these young people’s perceptions and evaluations of how they were treated while in the public care system, mainly residential care. Reviewing these qualitative studies, the most common and relevant issues highlighted by young people were related to the following themes: (a) entering care; (b) stability and emotional bonds in care; (c) education; (d) friends; (e) labelling, stigmatization, rights and opportunities; (f) autonomy and responsibility versus overprotection; (g) contact with parents, siblings and extended family; (h) maltreatment in care; and (i) leaving care. One of the main elements used in their assessments was comparison (i) between their previous situation within their birth family and the quality of care experienced in the residential home; and (ii) between what these young people commonly refer to as “normal children” and children in care. Recommendations deriving from their advice and opinions are also debated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Productive Uses of Conflict in Child Protection
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 672-686; doi:10.3390/socsci3040672
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 September 2014 / Published: 2 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (69 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Some child protection cases exemplify a certain kind of cooperative interdependence, a consequence of the ways in which practitioners and clients are entangled. Client and practitioner are “stuck” with each other and need each other to succeed. There is also an intrinsic power
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Some child protection cases exemplify a certain kind of cooperative interdependence, a consequence of the ways in which practitioners and clients are entangled. Client and practitioner are “stuck” with each other and need each other to succeed. There is also an intrinsic power imbalance that technique, ideology, and skill cannot hide and that has risks for the well-being and success of the practitioner-client relationship. There is also a risk to the practitioner of biases caused by successful influence. “Productive conflict,” defined as conflict under conditions of cooperative interdependence, may compensate for these challenges and lead to “integrative solutions.” In these cases the conflict itself is a kind of collaboration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Concerted Practice-Based Actions in Intimate Partner and Family Violence: When the Children’s Well-Being Is the Central Concern
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 650-671; doi:10.3390/socsci3040650
Received: 22 July 2014 / Revised: 3 September 2014 / Accepted: 16 September 2014 / Published: 30 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (155 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Canada, the exposure of children to intimate partner violence is, along with negligence, one of the most frequent forms of maltreatment. Intimate partner violence raises important issues with regard to child custody and to the exercising of parental roles. The aid provided
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In Canada, the exposure of children to intimate partner violence is, along with negligence, one of the most frequent forms of maltreatment. Intimate partner violence raises important issues with regard to child custody and to the exercising of parental roles. The aid provided for children exposed to intimate partner violence covers a range of programs, in particular community services specializing in intimate partner violence, frontline social and health services, and child protection. However, these resource services do not share the same missions, or the same understanding of the problems and possible solutions, since they often operate in parallel networks. The complex situations of families confronted with intimate partner violence present considerable challenges in terms of collaboration between the different organizations. Action research was employed to develop an innovative concertation strategy that fostered collaboration between practitioners from different family resource services. The strategy, which was implemented in the Québec City region between 2011 and 2013, was then evaluated. This article presents the results of this evaluation as well as the positive outcomes that the concertation strategy had for the practitioners’ practice and for the improvement of family services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle “I Know People Think I’m a Complete Pain in the Neck”: An Examination of the Introduction of Child Protection and “Safeguarding” in English Sport from the Perspective of National Governing Body Safeguarding Lead Officers
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 606-627; doi:10.3390/socsci3040606
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 16 August 2014 / Accepted: 2 September 2014 / Published: 26 September 2014
PDF Full-text (238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Child protection in sport emerged at the start of the 21st century amidst headlines about coaches raping, sexually assaulting and abusing children. Against this backdrop, in 2001 the UK government established an independent agency, the English Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), which
[...] Read more.
Child protection in sport emerged at the start of the 21st century amidst headlines about coaches raping, sexually assaulting and abusing children. Against this backdrop, in 2001 the UK government established an independent agency, the English Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), which introduced national child protection standards for sports organizations. This included the requirement to appoint national “safeguarding lead officers”. Utilizing the theoretical framework of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, this paper considers the impact of “safeguarding and child protection” (SCP) within the English sports community through the experiences of those who have been at the vanguard of its implementation in the early years of its establishment within sport. Utilizing data from qualitative interviews with nine national safeguarding lead officers (SLOs), the paper discusses the challenges experienced by SLOs and critically appraises the relation between them (their habitus) and the prevailing logic (capital) within their sporting fields. We discuss the extent to which SLOs have been supported by their organizations and conclude with a consideration of the degree to which national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) have been invested in SCP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Time is of the Essence: Risk and the Public Law Outline, Judicial Discretion and the Determination of a Child’s Best Interests
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 584-605; doi:10.3390/socsci3030584
Received: 8 April 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 23 September 2014
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Abstract
The Children and Families Act 2014 has introduced a 26-week timeline for Children Act 1989 care and supervision court cases. This article discusses the risks and possible ramifications for children and parents of this measure, which halves the average length of care proceedings.
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The Children and Families Act 2014 has introduced a 26-week timeline for Children Act 1989 care and supervision court cases. This article discusses the risks and possible ramifications for children and parents of this measure, which halves the average length of care proceedings. This is to be set against evidence that faster resolution of children’s cases is possible without prejudicing the quality of court decision making; however, careful monitoring is indicated to ensure that child welfare is at the forefront in the decision making process and the individual rights of all concerned are protected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Dreaming of Child Safe Organisations?
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 565-583; doi:10.3390/socsci3030565
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 28 August 2014 / Accepted: 2 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
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Abstract
On 12 November 2012 the then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced she was recommending to the Governor General the establishment of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Following inquiries in Australia and elsewhere much is already known about
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On 12 November 2012 the then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced she was recommending to the Governor General the establishment of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Following inquiries in Australia and elsewhere much is already known about institutional and inter-institutional child protection failures and what is required to address them. That Australia’s national government has pursued another abuse inquiry with terms of reference limited to institution-based (excluding the family) sexual abuse is of interest given the lack of political will to enact previous findings and recommendations. This article examines the background to the Government’s announcement, the Commission’s terms of reference and some of its settings, and literature on the nature of royal commissions across time and place. After the lack of success in implementing the recommendations of previous inquiries into how to better protect Australia’s children, the question is: how will this Royal Commission contribute to Australian child protection and safety? Will the overwhelming public support generated by “truth speaking to power” in calling for this inquiry translate into action? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Voice of the Child in Child Protection: Whose Voice?
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 514-526; doi:10.3390/socsci3030514
Received: 29 June 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 2 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (66 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines the rights of children to express their views in decisions affecting their lives. There is further evidence to support the positive benefits for children who are afforded this right.
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Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines the rights of children to express their views in decisions affecting their lives. There is further evidence to support the positive benefits for children who are afforded this right. However, evidence shows that despite legislative and policy frameworks to support this, repeated messages from inquiry reports highlight failures to do so. This paper draws upon research undertaken in Scotland but the findings of the study are relevant across the UK and beyond. Child protection documentation including reports and case conference minutes were analysed to assess to what extent the child’s views were presented to, and considered in, decision making forums. In particular the study considers how the child’s views and wishes are represented in writing, and highlights the ways which professionals filtered and interpreted the child’s view rather than presented it in its pure form. Messages have emerged identifying a need for workers to be clear about the factors which influence their practice with children. These include the value they place on children’s participation, the skills and confidence needed to engage children with complex needs and the impact of competing tensions. One example of such a tension is that between the needs of busy workers, and those of children who are potentially involved in a range of decision making processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Urgent Protection versus Chronic Need: Clarifying the Dual Mandate of Child Welfare Services across Canada
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 483-498; doi:10.3390/socsci3030483
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 12 August 2014 / Accepted: 13 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
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Abstract
This study analyzed data from the 1998, 2003 and 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of reported child abuse and neglect (CIS) and compared the profile of children who were reported for an urgent protection investigation versus any other investigation or assessment. As a proportion
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This study analyzed data from the 1998, 2003 and 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of reported child abuse and neglect (CIS) and compared the profile of children who were reported for an urgent protection investigation versus any other investigation or assessment. As a proportion of all investigations, urgent protection cases have dropped from 28% of all investigations in 1998, to 19% in 2003, to 15% in 2008. Results from the CIS-2008 analysis revealed that 7% of cases involved neglect of a child under four, 4% of cases involved sexual abuse, 2% of cases involved physical abuse of a child under four and 1% of cases involved children who had sustained severe enough physical harm that medical treatment was required. The other 85% of cases of investigated maltreatment involved situations where concerns appear to focus less on immediate safety and more on the long-term effects of a range of family related problems. These findings underscore the importance of considering the dual mandate of child welfare mandates across Canada: intervening to assure the urgent protection and safety of the child versus intervening to promote the development and well-being of the child. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Mandatory Reporting Laws and Identification of Child Abuse and Neglect: Consideration of Differential Maltreatment Types, and a Cross-Jurisdictional Analysis of Child Sexual Abuse Reports
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 460-482; doi:10.3390/socsci3030460
Received: 2 July 2014 / Revised: 12 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
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Abstract
Mandatory reporting laws have been created in many jurisdictions as a way of identifying cases of severe child maltreatment on the basis that cases will otherwise remain hidden. These laws usually apply to all four maltreatment types. Other jurisdictions have narrower approaches supplemented
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Mandatory reporting laws have been created in many jurisdictions as a way of identifying cases of severe child maltreatment on the basis that cases will otherwise remain hidden. These laws usually apply to all four maltreatment types. Other jurisdictions have narrower approaches supplemented by differential response systems, and others still have chosen not to enact mandatory reporting laws for any type of maltreatment. In scholarly research and normative debates about mandatory reporting laws and their effects, the four major forms of child maltreatment—physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect—are often grouped together as if they are homogenous in nature, cause, and consequence. Yet, the heterogeneity of maltreatment types, and different reporting practices regarding them, must be acknowledged and explored when considering what legal and policy frameworks are best suited to identify and respond to cases. A related question which is often conjectured upon but seldom empirically explored, is whether reporting laws make a difference in case identification. This article first considers different types of child abuse and neglect, before exploring the nature and operation of mandatory reporting laws in different contexts. It then posits a differentiation thesis, arguing that different patterns of reporting between both reporter groups and maltreatment types must be acknowledged and analysed, and should inform discussions and assessments of optimal approaches in law, policy and practice. Finally, to contribute to the evidence base required to inform discussion, this article conducts an empirical cross-jurisdictional comparison of the reporting and identification of child sexual abuse in jurisdictions with and without mandatory reporting, and concludes that mandatory reporting laws appear to be associated with better case identification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Developing Child-Centered Social Policies: When Professionalism Takes Over
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 441-459; doi:10.3390/socsci3030441
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 3 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
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Abstract
No nation today can be understood as being fully child-centered, but many are pursuing social policies heavily favoring children. The emphasis on individual rights and the growth of scientific knowledge underpinning many of these policies have led to the improvement of the lives
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No nation today can be understood as being fully child-centered, but many are pursuing social policies heavily favoring children. The emphasis on individual rights and the growth of scientific knowledge underpinning many of these policies have led to the improvement of the lives of a great many children. Paradoxically, these same knowledge bases informing social policies often produce representations and images of children and their parents that are detrimental for both of these groups. Using Norwegian child welfare policies and practices as examples, I will examine some of the possible pitfalls of child-centered praxis. The key question here is one asking whether the scientific frame central to child welfare professionalism has positioned children and parents as objects rather than subjects in their own lives and, in so doing, required them to live up to standards of life defined for them by experts. A central question will involve exploring the extent to which scientific knowledge has erased political and ethical considerations from the field when assessing social problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Technology-Based Innovations in Child Maltreatment Prevention Programs: Examples from SafeCare®
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 427-440; doi:10.3390/socsci3030427
Received: 14 July 2014 / Revised: 9 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 August 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
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Abstract
Each year, hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. are victims of child maltreatment. Experts recommend behavioral, skill-based parent training programs as a strategy for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. These programs can be enhanced using innovative technology strategies. This
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Each year, hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. are victims of child maltreatment. Experts recommend behavioral, skill-based parent training programs as a strategy for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. These programs can be enhanced using innovative technology strategies. This paper presents a brief history of the use of technology in SafeCare®, a home visiting program shown to prevent child neglect and physical abuse, and highlights current work that takes a technology-based hybrid approach to SafeCare delivery. With this unique approach, the provider brings a tablet computer to each session, and the parent interacts with the software to receive psychoeducation and modeling of target skills. The provider and parent then work together to practice the targeted skills until mastery is achieved. Initial findings from ongoing research of both of these strategies indicate that they show potential for improving engagement and use of positive parenting skills for parents and ease of implementation for providers. Future directions for technology enhancements in SafeCare are also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Relationship between “Protection of” and “Violence Against” Infants and Young Children: The U.S. Experience, 1940–2005
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 394-403; doi:10.3390/socsci3030394
Received: 6 June 2014 / Revised: 24 July 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
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Abstract
Between 1940 and 2005, in the United States, the rate of unnatural death declined about 75 percent in infant and young child boys and girls; a remarkable indicator of successful child protection. During this same period, the rate of reported homicide in infant
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Between 1940 and 2005, in the United States, the rate of unnatural death declined about 75 percent in infant and young child boys and girls; a remarkable indicator of successful child protection. During this same period, the rate of reported homicide in infant boys increased 64.0 percent, in infant girls increased 43.5 percent, in young child boys increased 333.3 percent, and in young child girls increased 300.0 percent, a dismal and disturbing indicator of failed child protection. Can these simultaneously encouraging and discouraging observations be reconciled? The four categories of unnatural death, homicide, suicide, motor vehicle accident (MVA), and non-MVA, are mutually exclusive classifications. Correlations between the four categories of unnatural death among U.S. men and woman in all age groups for the years 1940 through 2005 were calculated. A negative correlation between homicide and non-MVA death rates was shown for all age groups, encompassing the entire human lifespan, in both genders. This consistently observed negative correlation was only observed between homicide and non-MVA death rates, and was not demonstrated between other causes of unnatural deaths. Moreover, this negative correlation was strongest (less than −0.7) in infants and young children. These observations are consistent with the suggestion that as the rate of unnatural death in infants and young children dramatically declined, society gave greater scrutiny to those fewer occurring unnatural deaths and demonstrated an increasing propensity to assign blame for those fewer deaths. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle “Under His Spell”: Victims’ Perspectives of Being Groomed Online
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 404-426; doi:10.3390/socsci3030404
Received: 3 April 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 1 August 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to highlight key themes within the process of online grooming from the victim’s perspective. Eight adolescents who experienced online grooming were interviewed and data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. It was found that participants, who had been
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The aim of this paper is to highlight key themes within the process of online grooming from the victim’s perspective. Eight adolescents who experienced online grooming were interviewed and data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. It was found that participants, who had been both sexually abused online and/or offline, were subjected to a range of grooming experiences. Consistent grooming themes within this sample included: manipulation; deception; regular/intense contact; secrecy; sexualisation; kindness and flattery; erratic temperament and nastiness; and simultaneous grooming of those close to the victim. These themes are similar to those identified by the literature surrounding grooming offline. Analysis demonstrated that once a participant was ‘enmeshed’ in the relationship with the offender, they were more likely to endure negative feelings associated with the grooming, than if the victim was not ‘enmeshed’. This paper supports the notion that grooming is a varied and non-linear process. Recommendations are made for practitioners, parents and carers, as well as suggestions for primary preventative education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Vulnerable Family Meetings: A Way of Promoting Team Working in GPs’ Everyday Responses to Child Maltreatment?
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 341-358; doi:10.3390/socsci3030341
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 21 July 2014 / Accepted: 25 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
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Abstract
This study uses observations of team meetings and interviews with 17 primary care professionals in four GP practices in England to generate hypotheses about how “vulnerable family” team meetings might support responses by GPs to maltreatment-related concerns and joint working with other professionals.
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This study uses observations of team meetings and interviews with 17 primary care professionals in four GP practices in England to generate hypotheses about how “vulnerable family” team meetings might support responses by GPs to maltreatment-related concerns and joint working with other professionals. These meetings are also called “safeguarding meetings”. The study found that vulnerable family meetings were used as a way of monitoring children or young people and their families and supporting risk assessment by information gathering. Four factors facilitated the meetings: meaningful information flow into the meetings from other agencies, systematic ways of identifying cases for discussion, limiting attendance to core members of the primary care team and locating the meeting as part of routine clinical practice. Our results generate hypotheses about a model of care that can be tested for effectiveness in terms of service measures, child and family outcomes, and as a potential mechanism for other professionals to engage and support GPs in their everyday responses to vulnerable and maltreated children. The potential for adverse as well as beneficial effects should be considered from involving professionals outside the core primary care team (e.g., police, children’s social care, education and mental health services). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Comparing Pedophile Activity in Different P2P Systems
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 314-325; doi:10.3390/socsci3030314
Received: 19 March 2014 / Revised: 15 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
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Abstract
Peer-to-peer (P2P) systems are widely used to exchange content over the Internet. Knowledge of pedophile activity in such networks remains limited, despite having important social consequences. Moreover, though there are different P2P systems in use, previous academic works on this topic focused on
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Peer-to-peer (P2P) systems are widely used to exchange content over the Internet. Knowledge of pedophile activity in such networks remains limited, despite having important social consequences. Moreover, though there are different P2P systems in use, previous academic works on this topic focused on one system at a time and their results are not directly comparable. We design a methodology for comparing KAD and eDonkey, two P2P systems among the most prominent ones and with different anonymity levels. We monitor two eDonkey servers and the KAD network during several days and record hundreds of thousands of keyword-based queries. We detect pedophile-related queries with a previously validated tool and we propose, for the first time, a large-scale comparison of pedophile activity in two different P2P systems. We conclude that there are significantly fewer pedophile queries in KAD than in eDonkey (approximately 0.09% vs. 0.25%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Improving Pathways to Assessment and Care for Infants of Substance Abusing Mothers: Are We Getting It Right?
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 192-204; doi:10.3390/socsci4010192
Received: 11 July 2014 / Revised: 6 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 2 March 2015
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Abstract
There is documented correlation between parental substance abuse, child maltreatment, and poor outcomes. In two health districts in Sydney, Australia (Site A and B), specialised clinics were established to provide comprehensive assessments for infants of substance abusing mothers (ISAM). We aimed to determine
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There is documented correlation between parental substance abuse, child maltreatment, and poor outcomes. In two health districts in Sydney, Australia (Site A and B), specialised clinics were established to provide comprehensive assessments for infants of substance abusing mothers (ISAM). We aimed to determine whether there was a difference in outcomes between infants who attended clinic versus those who did not; and to identify differences in the pathways to care between sites. We analysed child protection reports and available health markers of all ISAM referrals in 2011. We held stakeholder meetings with services involved with ISAM in both sites; to describe service components; strengths and weaknesses of pathways. Fifty-five per cent (11/20) attended clinic in Site A; 80% (25/31) in Site B. Three-quarters of ISAM had at least one referral to child welfare; child protection service involvement was more common in those who attended. Immunisation status was lower than the national Australian average; approximately half were seen by community nursing services. Gaps in services, lack of database, and differences in pathways between sites were identified. Attending clinics correlates with child protection service involvement and may afford health protection. Transparent communication, service integration, and shared learning can improve outcomes for this vulnerable group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessReview Forty Years of Forensic Interviewing of Children Suspected of Sexual Abuse, 1974–2014: Historical Benchmarks
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(1), 34-65; doi:10.3390/socsci4010034
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 2 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
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Abstract
This article describes the evolution of forensic interviewing as a method to determine whether or not a child has been sexually abused, focusing primarily on the United States. It notes that forensic interviewing practices are challenged to successfully identify children who have been
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This article describes the evolution of forensic interviewing as a method to determine whether or not a child has been sexually abused, focusing primarily on the United States. It notes that forensic interviewing practices are challenged to successfully identify children who have been sexually abused and successfully exclude children who have not been sexually abused. It describes models for child sexual abuse investigation, early writings and practices related to child interviews, and the development of forensic interview structures from scripted, to semi-structured, to flexible. The article discusses the controversies related appropriate questions and the use of media (e.g., anatomical dolls and drawings). It summarizes the characteristics of four important interview structures and describes their impact of the field of forensic interviewing. The article describes forensic interview training and the challenge of implementing training in forensic practice. The article concludes with a summary of progress and remaining controversies and with future challenges for the field of forensic interviewing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available
Open AccessReview Child Protection in Sport: Reflections on Thirty Years of Science and Activism
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 326-340; doi:10.3390/socsci3030326
Received: 28 May 2014 / Revised: 11 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
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Abstract
This paper examines the responses of state and third sector agencies to the emergence of child abuse in sport since the mid-1980s. As with other social institutions such as the church, health and education, sport has both initiated its own child protection interventions
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This paper examines the responses of state and third sector agencies to the emergence of child abuse in sport since the mid-1980s. As with other social institutions such as the church, health and education, sport has both initiated its own child protection interventions and also responded to wider social and political influences. Sport has exemplified many of the changes identified in the brief for this special issue, such as the widening of definitional focus, increasing geographic scope and broadening of concerns to encompass health and welfare. The child protection agenda in sport was initially driven by sexual abuse scandals and has since embraced a range of additional harms to children, such as physical and psychological abuse, neglect and damaging hazing (initiation) rituals. Whereas in the 1990s, only a few sport organisations acknowledged or addressed child abuse and protection (notably, UK, Canada and Australia), there has since been rapid growth in interest in the issue internationally, with many agencies now taking an active role in prevention work. These agencies adopt different foci related to their overall mission and may be characterised broadly as sport-specific (focussing on abuse prevention in sport), children’s rights organisations (focussing on child protection around sport events) and humanitarian organisations (focussing on child development and protection through sport). This article examines how these differences in organisational focus lead to very different child protection approaches and “solutions”. It critiques the scientific approaches used thus far to inform activism and policy changes and ends by considering future challenges for athlete safeguarding and welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection) Print Edition available

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