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Exploring narratives of neglect in social work practice with children and families : whose narratives? : what neglect?

Revell, Lisa


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Dr Lisa Revell
Lecturer in Social Work / Director of Student Experience


Caroline (Lecturer in social work) Humphrey

Julie Seymour


This thesis explores the narratives of children, young people and mothers, for whom neglect is or has been a feature of their lives. These accounts are augmented by gaining an understanding of the experiences of the social work practitioners tasked to respond to neglect, and its deleterious consequences.

This thesis considers some of the barriers encountered by children and young people when sharing their narrative with others and explores how individuals construct and use narratives to create change in their situations, influence decision-making or protect their siblings. Significance is attached the role of the family narrative in deflecting professional concern.

In relation to mothers’ experiences of neglect, this thesis explores the potential for narratives to both perpetuate neglectful caregiving and be utilised as a tool to promote change. Finally, this thesis explores the way in which the voices of social work practitioners are challenged and contested, as they struggle to be heard within an organisational context which places time restrictions on their practice and questions their expert knowledge.

Whilst I initially set out to foreground and privilege the voices of children and young people exposed to neglect, I ultimately demonstrated the worth of locating their narratives alongside those of mothers and practitioners, to add context and to document the complex interplay between parent and child, and the backdrop in which practitioners work with families.


Revell, L. (2019). Exploring narratives of neglect in social work practice with children and families : whose narratives? : what neglect?. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 16, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Social work
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Psychological Health, Wellbeing and Social Work, The University of Hull
Award Date Feb 1, 2019


Thesis (3.6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 Revell, Lisa. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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