Social workers report stress and bad memories

Family|July 28th 2014

Social workers experience work under significant amounts of stress and are often left with bad memories of their more difficult cases, new research suggests.

Ruth Neil, a lecturer in social work at the University of the West of Scotland, examined the experiences of 12 front line social workers working in children’s protection at one local authority in Scotland.

According to her report, published in The Guardian, all 12 said the job had had had a negative affect their personal lives. Problems cited included disturbed sleep and problems with relationships. Many had to respond to emergency situations outside their contracted hours and traumatic experiences had left many with bad memories which lasted years. Common experiences cited included babies with unexplained injuries, children who had experienced severe neglect and threats and abuse by parents.

Many of the social workers, however, expressed a sense of empathy with affected parents, tolerating aggression because they understood the parents’ anger at losing their children and refusing to press charges.

The social workers also expressed a strong sense of commitment and dedication to their roles, and said they felt a strong sense of satisfaction when difficult family situations were resolved. One reported being told by a child: “We don’t need you anymore – my Mum’s not drinking now”.

Photo by Chris Guy via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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  1. Dr David Bennett says:

    Only 12 persons…that is not a research project by any stretch of the imagination. All Academics doing research it seems are re-inventing the wheel time and again. More so with thesis papers on PTSD, we receive the same questions time and again, and for what purpose basically nothing; to keep Faculty members in place in Universities and Colleges. How can anyone in that position ever evaluate a paper submitted when not even qualified to do so. More importantly having NEVER EVER seen a patient face to face. All know the pressures of stress, if that level is being exceeded then the individual needs to be professional enough to say enough is enough!. What concerns me in this report is something very important. Quote “Common experiences cited included babies with unexplained injuries, children who had experienced severe neglect and threats and abuse by parents.” These incidents are for the medical profession to investigate and check not Social Workers. Secondly another quote,” Many had to respond to emergency situations outside their contracted hours and traumatic experiences had left many with bad memories which lasted years.” Then it is their choice should they wish to respond outside their normal contracted hours of work. The disturbing aspect i pick up here is the statement of leaving many with BAD MEMORIES for years”. This to me is a statement that can be picked up by any Psychologist or Barrister in a Court case as to the reliability of evidence on oath before a court? If such a survey is stated by only 12 persons, this is a damning indictment as to the reliability of evidence and many statements by family members insistent the facts were wrong!. What I am concerned about yet again and this highlights the point admirably, what standard of evidence can be accepted when now we are learning of these reports? Many high profile cases have been questioned of late and nothing has been done to investigate such, the legal profession and Judiciary just ignore the requests and protestations done, by these individuals starting off with the Social workers and Services. We need also more open discussion not closed and behind door interviews with many individuals who are ill as stated in my last comment. BEWARE BEWARE of any action by Social services who then implicate Police and other Agencies. Many being unsafe cases to proceed in Courts or in Case Conferences. All rights taken away and removed? Let all Agencies work together when required YES even COURTS but for heavens sake let it be open, there is no need for all this secrecy, as that is what I suspect is the cause of all the bitterness Depression and Anxiety that Clinicians dealing in these cases have to sort out much further down the line. Not ACADEMICS!!

  2. TS says:

    This is absolute rubbish. I put myself forward for my grandchildren and they resided with me for a while. I had 5 different Social Workers during that time. During that time I was told they needed to run PNC on anyone coming to my home, I gave 30 names of friends and family. They forgot to send any of even after several reminders. I was having surgery and had my gall bladder removed, I was forced to leave the hospital early because my grand children were placed in nursery , so I had to go collect them 12 hours after surgery because they forgot to assign anyone to collect them even though it was them who sent them. I was promised a regular payment while the children resided with me which was quite some months I got a single payment of £60 because they forgot to set it up. So I was told to apply for their benefits all I needed was a letter from the Social Worker to prove I was entitled but she forgot. The Social Worker never returned my calls said she forgot and even made an excuse a dog had chewed her phone, but tripped herself up by answering a call from her boss. One weekend when my grand daughter went to contact with her dad there was an incident which I reported to the Social Worker after who said she would investigate it but forgot until our solicitor checked it out and the Social worker said she had investigated and there was nothing in the police reports but later when we applied for the criminology when i became a party there it was in black and white. There is so much more I could tell you but in a nut shell they are disorganised and lacking in the basic skills to become a half decent service. They talk to you like your muck and don’t communicate.

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