Chapter F: Practice Guidance - Working with Hostile, Non-Compliant Clients and those who use Disguised Compliance within the Context of Safeguarding Children
Working with hostile, non compliant clients and those who use disguised compliance within the context of safeguarding children.
This guidance was endorsed by Peterborough Safeguarding Children Board on 13 December 2006 and has been reviewed at 3 yearly intervals. It was last reviewed in 2012. It will continue to be monitored and reviewed by the PSCB as required.
This guidance will continue to be monitored and reviewed by the PSCB and will be updated in December 2015.
- Purpose of this Guidance
- Guidance - First principles
- Recognition of Potential Hostility and Non Compliance
- Recognition of Disguised Compliance
- Clients using Disguised Compliance
- Hostile and Threatening Clients
- Case Management
- Chronologies and Three Monthly Summaries
|1.1||The nature of child protection work is such that parents and carers may at times feel angry and react in a hostile or threatening way towards workers who are involved with them and their families. Employers have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Workable Regulations 1992. These responsibilities should be made known to all staff during induction periods.|
|1.2||Employers should have in place practical day-to-day procedures to support staff who are working with families.|
|1.3||The Department of Health has recommended methods for training social care students and practitioners in order to assist them in dealing with situations in which they may feel threatened or fearful. Training should be ongoing.|
|2.1||To assist staff and their managers working with hostile/threatening and non-compliant parents/carers and those who use disguised compliance.|
|2.2||To help workers and their managers identify where these actions may be impacting on the care of the child/children and possible child protection issues|
|2.3||To assist with those situations where families are unable or unwilling to engage with workers to effectively promote and safeguard the welfare of children.|
|3.1||Workers have a right to feel safe, to be heard when they voice fears and concerns and to know that the response should include appropriate action being taken.|
|3.2||Workers in Peterborough serve a diverse population with differing needs. Practice needs to be inclusive to reflect these differences.|
Workers should be aware that interpretation of communication may lead to a misinterpretation of compliance; behaviour may seem to be non-compliant where in fact the issue may be the way in which workers are communicating.
Confidentiality must not compromise the welfare and protection of children. “Working Together to Safeguard Children” (2010) (now archived) states:
“Professionals can only work together to safeguard children if there is an exchange of relevant information between them”.
Where non-compliance is an issue, sharing information across agencies can assist in forming a plan to address this.
For the purpose of this guidance the following broad definitions are being used:
- Hostile and threatening behaviour; behaviour which produces damaging effects, physically or emotionally, in other people.
- Non-compliant behaviour; involves proactively sabotaging efforts to bring about change or alternatively passively disengaging.
- Disguised compliance; involves clients not admitting to their lack of commitment to change but working subversively to undermine the process.
|5.1||“Ask yourself: What were the reasons for the parents’ behaviour? Are there other possibilities besides the obvious? Could their behaviour have been a reaction to something I did or said rather than to do with the child?” (Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2010) (now archived)
Ask yourself: Have the parents understood the situation and do they understand what they are being asked to do and why is it required of them.
Ask yourself: do they need another family member or advocate to support and help them understand.
Factors associated with hostility and non-compliance includes:
Situations associated with hostility and non-compliance includes:
Factors, which may indicate and evidence, disguised compliance:
Workers may believe they have engaged in a positive way with parents/carers in addressing risk and working towards change however this may not be the case. As a consequence the following may happen:
The child therefore remains in a high risk, unprotected environment.
“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.
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.
|8.3||Workers may also misinterpret the behaviour of parents/carers. What may appear to be defensive/uncooperative behaviour may be designed to mask hidden issues in the family such as domestic violence, mental ill health, and drug or alcohol misuse. Workers should be aware of their level of assumption and expectations.|
|9.1||The following areas are essential for good case management:|
Workers must always follow their agency procedures and the procedures contained in this manual, which have incorporated the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families.
Managers must consider the following matters:
These are a requirement and will:
- Messages from Research Dept. of Health 1995
- The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families. Dept. of Health 2000
- Working Together to Safeguard Children Department for Education and Skills 2010