You are not allowed to tell: organisational culture as a barrier for child protection workers seeking assistance for traumatic stress symptomology

Oates, Fiona (2019) You are not allowed to tell: organisational culture as a barrier for child protection workers seeking assistance for traumatic stress symptomology. Children Australia, 44 (2). pp. 84-90.

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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 which 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.

Item ID: 58448
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2049-7776
Keywords: statutory child protection, traumatic stress support, trauma-laden environment, child protection workforce
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2019
Funders: Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2019 05:11
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9499 Other Law, Politics and Community Services > 949999 Law, Politics and Community Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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