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The Importance of Perceived Organisational Goals: A Systems Thinking Approach to Understanding Child Safeguarding in the Context of Domestic Abuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse Review
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

King's Authors


Research in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s raised concerns that the safeguarding implications of domestic abuse (DA) were not being sufficiently accounted for in child contact cases in England. Since that time reforms have been introduced, which sought to emphasise the importance of safety in this context. Despite these developments, there is concern that problematic management of DA cases may have persisted. This article presents findings on the management of DA in supported child contact centres in England. The findings suggest that supported contact services continue to facilitate DA cases, although the service is not designed for this purpose. Using the systems thinking concepts of ‘local rationalities’ and ‘goal conflicts’ the article explores how problematic safeguarding practices made sense to those on the ground. The findings suggest that supported services are inappropriate for cases involving DA concerns, not just because they lack the resources to safely manage these cases, but because their perceived organisational goals can present a conflict for staff and volunteers in safely managing them. Ultimately, the article asserts the potential for perceived organisational goals to impact on practice and thus the importance of considering them in the design, commissioning or use of services.

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