Community Care survey respondents’ accounts of violence:
Social workers’ experiences of violence
- “I went to a service user’s home to update her on the progress of her daughter who was subject of an ICO [interim care order]. The mother was a prolific substance abuser. She locked me in her home, threw her phone and a book at me and pushed me against a door frame. I had to call the police to get me out.”
- “I assisted a woman and her children to separate from the father due to escalating domestic violence. They went to a refuge in another part of the country. The father of the children suspected my involvement. He told me over the phone that he would come to my office, drag me out by my hair and kill me.”
- “In my last job working in an adolescent residential setting I was punched, kicked, scalded with boiling water, suffered concussion, was stabbed, bitten, strangled, and attacked with objects including pool cues, bricks, knives.”
- “I was transporting a child to a residential home, but he refused to stay and the staff would not accept him, so I had to bring him back. He suddenly became enraged in the car and kicked myself and the driver, damaged the car and had to be restrained and arrested.”
‘I received a death threat but my manager failed me’
A social worker who wants to remain anonymous who received death threats from a service user tells us about his ordeal. He was later forced to move to another area:
“I was working in a local authority children’s team when I received a tip off from a health visitor that a child had a facial bruise. We obtained skeletal X-rays and it was clear the child had several healed fractures consistent with having been punched repeatedly. So we immediately removed him from his parents’ care.
“We referred the father for a psychiatric assessment. He was found to have a personality disorder and a propensity to injure vulnerable people if he was under stress. We told the mother that if she continued to live with him we would remove the child permanently.
“The father became very angry. He threatened to kill me, saying I was ‘doing the devil’s work’ by breaking up families. He said God ‘would make retribution’ and claimed he was a soldier of God. His psychiatrist concluded it was a serious threat.
“I went to see my area manager and explained all of this. The next day he called me in and said: ‘I’ve had a word with human resources and it’s alright, you’re covered for death in service.”
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