Probation and Social Work on Trial: Violent Offenders and Child Abusers

Probation and Social Work on Trial: Violent Offenders and Child Abusers


By (author) Wendy Fitzgibbon

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Paperback $38.99
  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Hardback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 228mm x 20mm | 358g
  • Publication date: 15 October 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 0230275370
  • ISBN 13: 9780230275379
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 1,160,768

Product description

The Baby Peter and Dano Sonnex incidents were high profile cases in which two key public services, namely child protection and probation, both failed in their tasks of protection of the victims and the public. Now in paperback with a new foreword, this book graphically describes media and political reactions and then proceeds to analyze the common problems both social work and probation practice face under conditions of economic recession and drastic reductions in funding.

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Author information

WENDY FITZGIBBON is a Former Probation Officer, and is currently Reader in Criminology at London Metropolitan University, UK. Her previous publications include Pre-emptive Criminalisation: Risk Control And Alternative Futures.

Review quote

'In this work Dr Fitzgibbon is to be applauded for the way that she has directed her academic research and former practitioner rigour to critically examine and analyse recent historical shifts in the way that the probation service and social work have been pilloried, harried and scandalized [...] Its appraisal of how both services have arrived at this moment and what the outstanding challenges for future practice are makes for a salutary, authentic and challenging book that should be essential reading for all those concerned about the future of probation and social work.' - Probation Journal, 2012 59: 81 'A powerful and incisive analysis of some of the main changes in Probation and Children's Social Work over the last forty years, together with a clear appraisal of the current challenges.' -Nigel Parton, NSPCC Professor in Applied Childhood Studies, University of Huddersfield, UK 'Utilising extensive experience as both a practitioner and academic researcher and many interviews with senior probation and social work staff, Dr Fitzgibbon clarifies the complex, changing links between the media, politicians and caring professions manifested by recent failures to supervise dangerous offenders in the community and protect the vulnerable. The core task of the criminologist is to uncover the links between private problems and public issues. Fitzgibbon achieves this with enviably clear, jargon-free prose and from a tightly argued theoretical position.' - Kevin Stenson, Professor at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent, UK 'In recent years, the probation service has repeatedly been accused of failing to manage high-risk offenders, never more so than in respect of Dano Sonnex who murdered two French students while under supervision in 2008. By setting her analysis in the context of wrongheaded government-induced changes in probation and social work services, and in the changing socio-cultural circumstances of offenders lives, Wendy Fitzgibbon convincingly shows that the more traditional, relationship-based forms of probation practice, to which government has been so opposed, may well have averted this appalling crime. She bravely speaks up for all the parties who suffered here, and challenges government to listen more to professionals who really know what dealing with danger entails.'- Mike Nellis, Emeritus Professor of Criminal and Community Justice University of Strathclyde, UK 'In the aftermath of tragedies like the Sonnex murders and the Baby P case there are only a few reactions possible: moral panic and penal over-reaction ('lock 'em up' and don't let anyone out); denial/minimalisation ('crisis, what crisis?'); or else a balanced, rational assessment of the situations in all of their historical, political and cultural contexts ('what must we learn from this?'). This 'post-traumatic growth' strategy is clearly the one adopted in this remarkable and sobering book. It should be required reading for all those concerned about the future of probation and social work in the UK.' -Shadd Maruna, Director of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Queen's University Belfast 'The historical dimension [...] enables the discussion [...] to change gear and make a substantial excursion into sociology and social history. The author's aim is to show that the changes in the organisation and public image of social work and probation since the 1970s reflect much wider changes in the role and power of the mass media, in relations between the public and politicians, and, in particular, in the structure of the types of communities in which incidents such as the Baby Peter and Dano Sonnex cases are situated.' The Police Journal

Table of contents

Foreword from Professor Shadd Maruna at Queen's University, Belfast. Acknowledgements Introduction Media Responses Family, Community and Violence Political Responses and Inquiries The Demise of Probation and Social Service Practice Conclusions Bibliography Index