Protecting Our Children: Video insights 1 - 3
Broadwalk duty team have received a referral regarding a 7 year old girl.
She alleges that she was sexually abused by her grandfather
So basically what’s happened is Grand dad was downstairs, asked her to snuggle and she has disclosed that he got his bits out and started to touch her as well. She has become quite upset about this.
James first task is to co-operate with police to secure a video interview with the girl.
There is no indication to say she won’t be age appropriate to be videoed. She has made what seems like a reasonably clear disclosure. What I’ll do is ask the Social Worker to start doing an assessment as we know what we are looking for as much as you do really.
Cassie, have you spoken to the school?
She is busy and will call us back, she has got contact details for mum in terms of telephone number but both of the girls are in school.
The Police are going to try and arrange so we can take this girl up for a video interview. The problem is they wont be able to see this girl to prep her which may be difficult. So what we need to work out is how this girl is doing emotionally and whether she is able to go through video interview – what I suggest you do is give mum a call, check she is ok and go through the process and the procedure, talk to her about the video interview – clearly she has done the right thing. Its important that the children don’t have contact with ANYONE in the family.
Hi my name is Cassie Knight and I am a social worker up at Broadwalk… hi, are you able to talk right now? Yes, I am just calling you about the referral that has been sent through, I just wanted to ask you a few more questions if that is ok? We are trying to make an assessment as to whether it will be appropriate or not? And whether she would be able to talk to a police officer, obviously with yourself present and obliviously the police officers are trained to speak to children and to gain the evidence really… do you think she would be able to do that?
Yeah… does she have any SEN or anything?...no…ok…and there is no reason you feel it would not be appropriate to do that? If you ring up and say you wanted to speak to a duty SW, it will be either myself or Vicky today …ok and somebody will be in touch with you later on today…alright, no worries, speak to you later, bye.
Ahhh, poor lady.
I don’t actually want to give you this case as I think you have too many cases on at the moment so maybe perhaps it would be better if Vicky picked it up? It think you have got more space than Cassie to pick this up at the moment?
Yes thank you James.
So its going to be my gift to you.
Lots of social workers have their own ways of working and they do find there own system that works best for them but in general you basically write notes when you go out on a visit and then you input it on the data system when you come back in. You just try to keep it as up to date as you can really which is actually quite difficult because there’s so much to do, you can’t always come back and document what you’ve just scene or what you’ve just done.
Often you might set aside time to do that and you come back to do it and something else kicks off. You have to then put it off and do it the next day.
Hello, Louise speaking.
Um, right I can’t do next week I’m afraid but we were looking at a couple of dates the week after.
Yeah, I mean the aim of the game I guess is to collect as much information as you can and document it because you never know, which bits are going to be important.
You know at that particular time your going out on a referral that’s about domestic violence but they may say something that later on relates to a sexual abuse allegation, but you don’t know, so it’s just best to document all you can really. Also you have to be realistic because you have only got specific time scales.
Keeping on top of case notes is one of the hardest parts of this job completely for that very reason that you, you need to go out and deal with people and they want to see a person, they want to talk to someone and you need to go out and sort a crisis out there and then.
I think that’s where the note taking in the books is really important.
I have never had anyone say I don’t want you writing any notes and once I have explained why and it’s because I want to put their answers to my questions, there important and I want them to be accurately documented, they don’t seem to mind.
Particularly for court we need to be able to prove that we’ve done what were supposed to be doing. For example the advice that we given to families and the conversations that we’ve had are really serious conversations and we need to be able to say, we did have this conversation, this is the date that it happened because if we don’t lot’s of people can dispute that, they can say that you have not done it, looks like we have not done it, just record keeping is very important.
The OFSTED come in and look at our records and we are very much judged on what’s on the computer systems and what we’ve inputted and that can be really difficult because the whole point of being a social worker is to have people skills and to be able to go out and solve problems and help them resolve their difficulties in their lives and you can’t really show that, you can’t, we are judged on what we write.
Every social worker has regular supervision
with their manager.
Supervision I guess is an opportunity for our managers to overview our cases and to see what we’re carrying as a social worker.
It’s a time for us to say this is what we need and were possibly overloaded or I’m not sure what to do with this case.
I think it helps to stop cases drifting as well, it makes you remember there all important and although one might be more demanding, drift is really dangerous and that’s when things go wrong.
So, tell me about this new case.
Uh, basically it’s the one that’s been referred by the health visitor and she’s worried about the children being under stimulated and has also said that the GP has seen the youngest child and the youngest child has rickets.
So the health visitors concern is there’s issues of neglect due to the youngest child having rickets?
And it is believed that the rickets has been caused due to lack of sunlight, poor diet.
I mean in order for us to work with a family with neglect where they don’t want to engage, we need evidence and we need quite strong evidence to take it up to the safeguarding level. Other wise we are going to struggle. So what we need is a doctor who is going to be telling us what the family need to do to help this child’s rickets and whether or not they believe that the family are taking the steps they need to do. And if there not, what the consequences of this will be in the longer term. Which I imagine maybe quite severe.
Have we got a health professional that’s prepared to evidence this for us?
I need to ring the GP and ask them to sort of give us a proper document with this written on as his health assessment bassicly.
Are you going to liaise with the school?
Yeah, when their back after half term.
Okay. Um, I would have thought the best thing to do with this would be to work towards having a child in need meeting, um…
Shall I wait to get the stuff from the GP’s?
Yes. I think that’s what we need to build towards. The other side is that if the health service says yes these rickets are a consequence of neglect. This is going to cause this child significant harm if their not co-operating with the treatment, then this becomes a child protection matter. Then it needs a child protection case conference, so that we’d end up with the multi agency plan at that point.
So, complete the enquiries. What we’ll do is we’ll meet again and we’ll consider either path of having a child in need meeting, or if it’s so significant then we’ll consider whether a strategy discussion is required.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 16th February 2012
Last updated on: Thursday, 16th February 2012
- Body text - Copyright: The Open University
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