Work to identify, assess and stop child abuse does not just go on in the home but in other spaces, such as hospitals, health clinics and social work offices. The dynamics of how the work is done differs according to context. As I have been arguing, the home has some particular features that set it apart from other places where child protection goes on. Houses contain distinct atmospheres born of those who reside in them and afford opportunities for concealment of abuse, people and family secrets that are not as possible elsewhere. Practising in someone’s home is not the same as working with children and parents in a hospital or the social work office. The obvious difference is that in the latter two areas service users are required to enter the professionals’ space. If having control over the physical settings where practice goes on is a key form of power and influence in shaping encounters, this would seem to hand the initiative to the professionals.
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