Queen's University Belfast

School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work

Social work students, in their final year at Queen's University, explore the complex and sensitive issue of child sexual abuse. This includes a range of sexual offences against children, the impact on victims, therapeutic interventions, and work with perpetrators of abuse. To support this teaching, 'The Reid Family' were asked by Dr David Hayes (Head of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work) and Dr Davenny, to speak to students about their experiences and the response of different professionals following disclosure. The family's input was followed by an opportunity for students to ask questions enabling them to begin to explore the dynamics of intra-familial abuse.

The 'Reid Family' were delighted in having the opportunity to help inform student social workers of the issues involved in responding to child sexual abuse. Students commented on the power of the personal accounts provided by the family in shaping their understanding of child sexual abuse and appropriate professional interventions.

Students comments:
"Thanks to the Reid family for having the strength to share their story with us - it is not something I will easily forget when in practice."

"...will undoubtedly help us, as social workers, to be more aware of the necessary provision of services, the importance of multidisciplinary communication and information sharing for children and families and also as a reminder of the very real effects of child abuse."

"This will be an experience I will recall for many years, as it has challenged my views about the child protection system, helping me to be more effective in questioning and determining how my practice can be more supportive of children not only in the aftermath of disclosure but at the initial investigation stage."

"Thank you for allowing us to share this experience as it has helped me refocus my ideas about the social worker's role in children's lives."