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 conferencePaper

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 focussed on notions of risk. This paper uses governmentality theory to examine how risk is understood and managed by both services through a focus on policy and practice. The paper 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 paper 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
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015
EventThe 17th Social Work Education Conference and the 9th UK Social Work Research Conference - The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Jul 201517 Jul 2015

Conference

ConferenceThe 17th Social Work Education Conference and the 9th UK Social Work Research Conference
CountryUK United Kingdom
CityMilton Keynes
Period15/07/1517/07/15

Keywords

  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • learning disabilities
  • Domestic Abuse

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  • Cite this

    Dixon, J., & Robb, M. (2015). Working with women with a learning disability experiencing domestic abuse: how social workers can negotiate competing definitions of risk. Paper presented at The 17th Social Work Education Conference and the 9th UK Social Work Research Conference, Milton Keynes, UK United Kingdom.