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Response of Social Workers to Domestic Violence (From Private Violence and Public Policy, P 125-141, 1985, Jan Pahl, ed. - See NCJ-98421)

NCJ Number
M Maynard
Date Published
17 pages
This study analyzes current social work case files in Britain to examine the attitudes and practices of social workers dealing with cases of domestic violence.
The ways in which social workers become involved, or remain neutral, in cases of wife battery are revealed. Underlying beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes on the part of social workers that hinder their sympathy with, or protection of, the battered woman are suggested. For example, the breakdown of family order is thought to be the woman's domain and her private problem, revealing her own inadequacies. The social worker's disinclination to believe what the battered woman says is also cited. The desire on the part of a social worker to restore family peace and order is seen as another example of minimizing the individual interests of the battered woman. Social workers are viewed as offering further support of existing, unequal family structures by suggesting rationales for male violence and encouraging the battered women to understand and respond to these reasons. It is suggested that the beliefs and assumptions revealed in the study are part of a larger 'social worker ideology which, in turn, reflects patriarchal beliefs and assumptions of the wider society. The need for more detailed and direct empirical work on society's patriarchal values, and the ways in which these beliefs affect and control social welfare agencies is noted.


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