Child Protection: An Introduction Paperback – 1 Jan 2007
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All readers will be drawn to the style of the book as well as its content. The structure will make sure that it is not just a "one-off", being read as part of a course of study, but a book which is used frequently as a source of reference (review of first edition). --Child Abuse Review
About the Author
Chris Beckett qualified as a social worker in the 1980s, and worked in the field for 18 years, first as a social worker and then as a manager, latterly as the manager of a children and families social work team. Like most social workers who qualified at that time, he started out as a ‘generic’ social worker, working with a range of service users including children and families, old people, and people with mental health problems and disabilities, but his predominant area of work was with children and families.
He moved into academic social work in 2000, working first at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and then at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. In addition to his social work text books, he has published academic articles on a variety of topics including the use of military language in social work, the importance of realism as an ethical principle, and statistics from Sweden about child abuse, following the legal ban there on corporal punishment. His main research area, however, has been decision-making in court proceedings about children, and decision-making about children more generally.
Chris has a parallel career as a writer of literary science fiction. (More information about his fiction can be found at www.chris-beckett.com.) He won the Edge Hill Short Fiction prize for his story collection, The Turing Test, and the Arthur C. Clarke award for his novel Dark Eden. He is now a full-time writer. His view is that ‘academic’ and ‘creative’ writing have more in common than might at first sight appear: in both cases the author begins with a jumble of ideas that seem to him to be in some way linked together, and attempts, in large part by a combination of intuition and trial and error, to impose some shape and structure.
Chris has three adult children, and lives in Cambridge with his wife Maggie and sundry animals.
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It consists of 14 chapters that are coherently structured into four main sections and followed up with a comprehensive reference list and index.Part One outlines the historical development of the UK child-protection system, including an acknowledgment of the cross-cultural and interdisciplinary issues that may arise. There is an emphasis on the specific legal and procedural framework that operates within England and Wales, yet readers from other jurisdictions will still find much that is relevant.Part Two examines the issue of child maltreatment and its consequences, and includes chapters on definitions of the various forms of child abuse and neglect, the special vulnerabilities of disabled children and a discussion of both physical and psychological harm. The controversial issue of ritual abuse is also given a brief mention. Part Three goes on to consider the question of when and why abuse and neglect occurs, appropriate responses and associated external factors. It also includes chapters discussing the issues of parental mental illness and substance abuse, parents with learning difficulties, domestic violence and the effects of poverty and social exclusion. In Part Four, the problems and dilemmas facing the child-protection system are discussed, including the real-world restraints that can limit professionals' ability to detect and respond effectively to every incidence of child abuse. The author courageously questions some of the assumptions inherent within the current child-protection system and argues that an acknowledgement of its actual limitations may be a pre-requisite for the development of what he refers to as "an environment that is conducive to strong, imaginative, constructive child protection work" (p. 212).Each chapter includes reflective exercises based on actual case histories to encourage the reader to relate the text to the real-life situations that might be encountered in their own professional practice, and concludes with a useful bullet-point summary of the main learning points. The book is written in a clear and engaging style throughout and would certainly provide a thought-provoking reference point for anyone involved in the challenging field of child protection.
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