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Social Work and the Law - Case Study Example

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According to a BBC Timeline (2003) the murder of 8-year-old Victoria Climbi in 2000 prompted a review of child protection arrangements in the UK, and this review indicated that the social agencies and police involved in the case had neglected the welfare of the child…
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Download file to see previous pages In other instances, abuse reports from hospital visits were ignored and the child was returned to her abusers. The Timeline article noted that three social workers were sacked after a public inquiry by Lord Laming found them guilty of negligence.
Since Victoria's death, there has been an upheaval in reforms to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults, especially in the areas of social work and the government in the UK. Under the Children's Act of 2004 (Smith 2005), legislation in the following areas has been introduced: physical and mental health, emotional well being, protection from harm and neglect, education training and recreation, contributions by children to society, and social and economic well being. The question becomes whether these generalized areas can become focused enough to matter. Studies indicate that the basic areas affected by the Act are the rights of children through the revised Mental Health Act; needs of pupils through Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA)__related to the number of new international family arrivals; disability awareness training; the Education Act 2005; help for people with dementia through the International Health Study related to quality of life; the need for new legislation prohibiting discrimination because of sexual orientation, and the effort to balance work and life in the community (Background 2006). This is an ambitious enterprise, but given past history, it is not likely that the Children Act 2004 will resolve all of the issues in conflict.
There is presently a two-year assessment underway funded by the Nuffield Foundation which began in October 2004 and will continue to September 2006. The assessment is based on the Human Rights Act of 1998 which brought the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK domestic law, and the purpose is to determine anti-discriminatory measures available under the Equality Bill which extend to children and young people (All Party Parliamentary 2005). One concern in the Climbi inquiry was allegation of racism. Victoria was African and spoke little English (Timeline 2003). At present, no police officers criticised by the inquiry have lost their jobs, and one of the social workers involved has been allowed to resume working with children (Climbi Inquiry 2005). With anti-discrimination a key concern in the UK and Blacks, ethnic minorities and the disabled the focus of many reforms underway, the social aims of the UK government are commendable, but one wonders if they can actually change public perception in a way that creates a safe environment for children. The policies contained in the law have weaknesses. The Equality Bill allows for enforcement against anti-discriminatory actions, but, according to the Child Impact Statement, "its powers in relation to the Human Rights Act 1998 are primarily promotional."
Clause 9(2)(a) of the Equality Bill defines human rights as ECHR rights specifically, though subsection (b) enables the new Commission on Equality and Human Rights to exercise its functions in respect of other human rights. This could include the UN Convention on the Rights of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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