The social worlds of disabled young people and their experience of child protection enquiries and their aftermath

Hernon, Jane (2018) The social worlds of disabled young people and their experience of child protection enquiries and their aftermath. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Disabled children are vulnerable to personal and social adversities, including an increased risk of maltreatment. By examining disabled young people’s views of their social worlds and experiences within support and protection processes this thesis fills a significant gap in the research literature. It also offers unique insights into the lives of disabled young people, including their involvement with child protection processes, and adds to our knowledge and understanding of their specific support needs.

Sixteen disabled young people aged between 11-18 took part in this qualitative study. Undertaking individually tailored activity-based interviews enabled young people with diverse impairments to engage in the research. This approach allowed participants to raise issues that were meaningful to them, avoided stereotyping disabled children as lacking competence and agency and encouraged a more nuanced account of their lives to emerge.

Thematic analysis revealed these young people to be competent and adaptive in the face of their family’s difficulties and the challenges posed by their impairments. Participants’ spoke of the stressful nature of their experiences of child protection enquiries and their aftermath and the need for social workers and other professionals’ to build relationships with them and help them to manage the emotional impact on themselves and on their family relationships. While wanting to be kept safe, participants’ stressed their need to be kept informed and involved in decision-making, and for practitioners’ to adopt an enabling approach to their impairments, respect their own view of their support needs, and appreciate their family’s strengths and the significance of family relationships.

Based on the study’s findings, a model for understanding the complexities of child protection practice with disabled young people is presented. Suggestions are made for social workers and other professionals’ to apply the findings to their practice in order to better engage disabled young people within support and protection processes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work
Depositing User: Jennifer Whitaker
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 11:37
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 11:37
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/71287
DOI:

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