The experiences of social workers in the process of investigating child sexual abuse / Maria Jacoba Cussons.
Cussons, Maria Jacoba
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Social workers who are employed by non-governmental organizations have unique experiences. Through training and education, social workers are taught skills on how to remain professional during service delivery, but subjective experiences and the influence remain part of human nature. The purpose of the research was to investigate the experiences of social workers in nongovernmental organizations during investigations of child sexual abuse as well as the influence of these experiences on service delivery. The research followed a qualitative approach. Fifteen registered social workers from NG Welfare in the North West Province participated in this investigation where semi-structured interviews were conducted and notes were taken. The interviews focused on the following themes: -Theme 1: Personal experiences of social workers during child sexual abuse investigations. -Theme 2: The experience of social workers with other professionals during investigations of child sexual abuse. -Theme 3: Limitations social workers experience during child sexual abuse investigations. -Theme 4: Social workers’ experience of objectivity during child sexual abuse investigations. -Theme 5: Social workers’ knowledge and practice experience in child sexual abuse investigations. -Theme 6: Suggestions by social workers to improve the quality of investigations of child sexual abuse cases. The results of the data were divided into subthemes for detailed clarifications and discussions of the respondent’s experiences in order to make useful recommendations. According to the results all the respondents stated that their experiences with regard to child sexual abuse cases do influence their behaviour, decision making and service delivery. Half of the respondents experience good cooperation from other professionals. Limited resources are the biggest limitation for social workers and all the respondents are of the opinion that social workers are unbiased and objective when confronted with child sexual abuse investigations. The majority of the respondents do not think social workers have enough knowledge and practice experience for conducting these investigations and made the following suggestions to improve the process. These suggestions include the following: - Establishing an assessment unit - Employing a forensic social worker - Having a place of safety and or a rehabilitation centre available for children involved in child sexual abuse
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