Critical Appraisal of Domestic Violence

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This essay will outline the article chosen to critically appraise and describe the purpose of it. Second it will analyse the methods used by the authors and outline the strengths and weaknesses and highlight ethical issues raised by the research. Finally it will discuss how the findings can influence social work practice and collaborative working with other professionals.

The article to be critically appraised is called “Engaging with children’s and parents’ perspectives on domestic violence” (Stanley,Miller and Richardson-Foster,2012). It considers the views of families that have experienced domestic violence and their perspectives of how effective professionals, in particular social workers, have been to help facilitate services and support. The article suggests exposure to domestic violence can impact on a child’s health and development however Stanley et al (2011a) suggests domestic violence as a form of significant harm is not on its own sufficient to ensure families receive support from social services despite clarification from the Adoption and Children Act (2002) and Lord Laming (2009) recommending automatic referrals where domestic violence may put a child at risk of abuse. A report from the domestic violence sub-group (Department of Health (DOH),2009) suggests the need for professionals to work in partnership in order to promote the exchange of information, to increase awareness of what support services are available and which professionals were involved.

The paper is from a peer-reviewed journal, Child and Family Social Work, which Patton (2002) suggests the article has been critically assessed by other academics in the author’s field. Place of work for each author is given however; it does not disclose their qualifications or their interest in this field. This paper is part of a larger study and the first research carried out by Stanley et al (2011a) gives information on the authors’ credibility and Padgett (2008) points out there is a word limit on the content that can be published. The article was published 2012 and the majority of references to support it are within the last five years indicating it is current and up to date.

The research is a qualitative study which Moule and Goodman (p.174,2009) indicates “focuses on exploring relationships and experiences within the research setting and enables face to face personal contact in data collection”. Thyer (2012) suggests qualitative studies can allow social workers to have a rich insight into the experiences of service users however poor quality studies do not adequately explain data collection methods, consider alternative explanations or the authors perspective. The study considers the perceptions of three groups of people; survivors of domestic violence, children and perpetrators and their views on what facilitates or restricts engagement with social workers. Padgett (2008) suggests this increases the credibility of the findings and is a form of data triangulation, where the views of all parties are considered. The three groups of participants were recruited and interviewed separately and while this could be defined as a limitation to the study as it does not allow a full perspective of individual cases, the authors suggest this is acceptable due to problems of access and safety if members of the same family were included. The codes of practice (GSCC,2002) highlight taking steps to minimise risk to service users.

The participants were chosen through what could be described as purposive sampling (Padgett,2008), which selects people on their ability to provide the required information. They were selected through organisations that provided help and support for people affected by domestic violence. A sample of service users who were known to have contact in the past or currently with social services may have given an additional perspective, as Banks (2012) suggests individuals who have experience of using services and how they could...
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