“Ask yourself: Did I feel safe in this household? If not, why not? If I or another professional should go back there to ensure the child(ren)’s safety, what support should I ask for? If necessary, put your concerns and requests in writing to your manager.”
(Assessing Risk in Child Protection. Cleaver, H., Wattam, C. and Cawson, P (1998))
When workers are involved with families who have a reputation for hostile or bizarre behaviour, or where the worker feels uncomfortable, suspicions of child abuse may not always be as thoroughly investigated or followed through as they might otherwise have been.
- Only one ring at the door bell;
- Only waiting 5 minutes for family to arrive for an appointment;
- Not challenging when appointments are missed or client turns up late; and
- Accepting unlikely explanations.
To challenge parents/carers may, in the mind of the worker, produce a violent response or affect the possibility of any positive professional relationship.
This may result in professionals colluding with the family and failing to protect the child.