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The chosen theme that will be discussed from the book ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ will be child abuse, and how this relates to social work. Child abuse can be a dominant subject in which social workers encounter when working with vulnerable children and families. According to NSPCC (2018), there are different structures of abuse ranging from physical, emotional, sexual and neglect which can all cause serious harm to a child, and cause implications for the child. In the book, Eleanor plays the role of a woman that has suffered childhood trauma, which then had seen to impact her later in life. Gilbert et al (2008) suggests that any form of abuse to children has an impact on the mental well-being of them in adulthood, and more risk to alcohol and substance misuse, especially in girls.
The main legislation that implements the legal framework for social work practice is The Children’s Act 1989 Brammer (2015). One of the main concepts of The Children’s Act 1989, is “The welfare of the child is paramount”, in deciding the outcomes of the child. It created the concept for parental responsibilities and one of the principles to this act was that it was seen in the child’s best interest to stay living with the parents and be supported in coping with the upbringing of their child; ensuring all the needs were being met. The aspect of this act was to focus on the section 17 child in need or section 47 child in need of protection. When there is a concern regarding a child’s safety, social services will carry out an assessment and then decide if further action needs to be taken.
On deciding the outcome, social services may take no further action, arrange a child protection conference, apply to court for more rights in safeguarding the child, temporary removal from the parents to other family members, or even apply to take full custody of the child into the care of social services Citizens Advice (2018). Sadly it takes for cases in social work that has failed that altered the law for children, from “Dennis O’Neill in 1945; Maria Colwell in 1973; Jasmine Beckford in 1984; and Victoria Climbie in 2000”. Looking at the statistics from Ofsted (2017) their findings were that there has been a 23% increase in child deaths from last year to the year previous that have been reported from local authorities.
In conclusion to this, child abuse is closely linked to the area of work that social workers encounter, in many forms. The law plays a very important role in ensuring that children are protected from any form of harm and, also that services are there to prevent further harm to the child.
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