Critical Appraisal of Domestic Violence

Topics: Qualitative research, Domestic violence, Social work Pages: 6 (2242 words) Published: April 15, 2013
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...

References: Banks, S. (2012) Ethics and values in social work. 4th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Baird, K
British Association of Social Workers (2012) The code of ethics for social work [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 22nd April 2012).
Carnwell, R. and Buchanan, J. (eds.) (2005) Effective practice in health and social care a partnership approach. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Davies, C. and Ward, H. (eds) (2012) “Safeguarding children across services messages from research” [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 25th April 2012).
General Social Care Council (2002) Codes of practice for social care workers [online]. Available at: (Accessed 22nd April 2012).
Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (2009), Laming, W. The protection of children in England: a progress report. [Online] Available at: (Accessed 25th April 2012).
Hardwick, L
Hester, M. (2011) “The three planet model: towards an understanding of contradictions in approaches to women and children’s safety in contexts of domestic violence”, British Journal of Social Work, 41(5), pp. 837-853.
Moule, P. and Goodman, M. (2009) Nursing research and introduction. London: Sage Publications.
McLaughlin, H. (2012) Understanding social work research. 2nd edn. London: Sage Publications.
Oliver, C. (2012) “Critical realist grounded theory: a new approach for social work research”, British Journal of Social Work, 42(2), pp. 371-387.
Padgett, D.K. (2008) Qualitative methods in social work research. 2nd edn. London: Sage Publications.
Patton, M.Q. (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods. 3rd edn. London: Sage Publications.
Stanley, N., Miller, P., Richardson-Foster, H. and Thomson, G. (2011a) “A stop-start response: social services’ interventions with children and families notified following domestic violence incidents”, British Journal of Social Work, 41(2), pp. 296-313.
Thyer, B.A. (2012) “The scientific value of qualitative research for social work”, Qualitative Social Work, 11(2), pp. 115-129. [Online] DOI: 10.1177/1473325011433928 (Accessed 29th April 2012).
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