Socialtjänstens barnskyddsarbete En studie av socialsekreterares riskbedömningar avseende barn som utsätts för våld eller sexuella övergrepp i hemmet.
Social services´ child protection - A study on social workers´ risk assessment concerning children which are exposed to violence or sexual abuse at home.
The overall aim was to examine how the public interest to protect children from violence and sexual abuse at home, is realized by social workers. The study´s central focus was the risk assessments as Social services are obliged to do when they receive a report containing concern that children are being exposed to violence or sexual abuse at home. The study addresses the following questions: o How do social workers go about practically, and what support and knowledge is being used to determine whether the Social services need to intervene for the protection of a child? o What risk and protective factors are taken into account by social workers in the assessment process? o What contextual factors do social workers experience are affecting them in the assessment process? o Which support does the documentation system BBIC provide in the assessment process? The study material was collected through qualitative group interviews, with a modified vignette methodology as tools. The study included a total of twelve social workers, with varying numbers in each interview group. They all have responsibility for daily risk assessments reports of suspected child maltreatment. The participants represented five of the ten districts in Gothenburg. The results showed that social workers use the clinical judgement method, without the support of an actuarial-based model. The assessment process is to some extent a hidden process, as social workers find it difficult putting into words their knowledge and reasoning. The risk- and protective factors that social workers took into account are consistent with research in the field. Several contextual factors affected them in their risk assessment work and the study´s analysis indicated inadequate organizational and structural conditions in child welfare. Heavy workload under time pressure and a number of juridical dilemmas to deal with, affects social workers´ space of action. One conclusion is that the clinical judgement must have a clearer language to be judicial safe and an ethically defensible method, which the organization needs create conditions for. On a structural level, is there a need to Socialstyrelsen updates their previous advice and instruction in the field to guide how the practitioners ought to interpret and apply the law.