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Journal Article

Citation

Oates F. Child. Aust. 2019; 44(2): 84-90.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, National Children's Bureau of Australia, Publisher Australian Academic Press)

DOI

10.1017/cha.2019.12

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Child protection work is one of the most difficult and complex areas of human services practice. Working within a trauma-laden environment often means that practitioner susceptibility to trauma-related mental health issues is an occupational hazard. However, many practitioners are reluctant to seek support when they start to experience symptoms of traumatic stress. This paper considers current literature relating to child protection workers' exposure to work-related traumatic material, resulting traumatic stress symptomology and organisational responses to practitioner distress.

RESULTS from a recent doctoral study that explores the experiences of child protection practitioners based in Queensland will be presented.

FINDINGS from the study were derived from qualitative in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The study findings indicate that the organisational culture within statutory child protection agencies creates an environment where practitioners are labelled as incompetent or not suitable for child protection work when they disclose experiencing symptoms of traumatic stress. The experience of bullying and retribution by supervisors and colleagues and the fear of rejection by the workgroup were also found to be significant barriers for workers seeking support.


Language: en

Keywords

Statutory child protection; trauma-laden environment; traumatic stress support

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