Working with women with a learning disability experiencing domestic abuse: how social workers can negotiate competing definitions of risk

Jeremy Dixon, Megan Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)
177 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Women with a learning disability who experience domestic abuse receive intervention from both social services and the police. Responses from these services have increasingly become focused on notions of risk. This article uses governmentality theory to examine how risk is understood and managed by both services through a focus on policy and practice. The article examines how policy directs social workers to promote positive risk taking whilst assessing and managing risk for those deemed vulnerable or lacking mental capacity to self-protect. It is argued that, whilst social work decision making around risk has primarily been based on the judgement of individual workers, the police have increasingly adopted assessments utilising calculative measures. In addition, the article explores the extent to which these women are treated as autonomous agents responsible for managing their own risk. It is argued that social workers and the police should adopt a common screening process to highlight groups of women who may be at risk of abuse. In addition, social workers should draw on their interpersonal skills to enable women with a learning disability to recognise and make informed choices about abuse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-788
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume46
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • adult protection
  • domestic violence
  • learning disabilities
  • multidisciplinary work
  • risk
  • Risk assessment
  • intellectual disabilities

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