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Domestic Violence Case Example

by Suleman

The case review is about Domestic violence on child Hamza Khan a child who died as a result of the criminal neglect by his mother, Amanda Hutton. Hamzah had seven siblings with the eldest two living independent lives and the other five living in the same household (Maddocks, 2013). The body of Hamzah was found by the police during their search of the house in September 2011.

The police raid was because of the reports and concerns they received for the poor living conditions and the antisocial behavior in the home. It was not clear when Hamzah died, but the reports that came back from the evidence stated that the child died on the fifteenth date of December 2009. Amanda was convicted of child cruelty and manslaughter in October 2013. The death of Hamzah is a profoundly disturbing, shocking and a traumatic experience just like the death of any child is.

Amanda neglected Hamzah, and for several months, the kid got starved (Maddocks, 2013). Hamzah was not visible to the services majorly because his parents did not take part in the routine processes like ensuring that he was attended to by health professionals on a regular basis. The child was also invisible because his parents did not enroll him in the educational provision.

The complete extent of the treatment of Hamzah was not known until the time when there was a hearing in the autumn of 2013. In this hearing, the evidence of the treatment of Hamzah was brought to court before the judge and the jury (Maddocks, 2013).  This was done following a criminal investigation that was extensive. The case review only examines what was understood and known by the varied services at the time that the events took place.

The review also considers what the unfortunate story of Hamzah represents for future policy and professional learning. It is also focused on how people, like the adults in this case, who are not willing to get help can be supported and encouraged to continue improving the quality of contact and the opportunities with children who are vulnerable and families that are troubled.

This case review shows that there so little information recorded about the children especially concerning what the kids were thinking, what they were feeling or saying at the points of criticality like domestic violence. When an adolescent spoke about how unhappy he was with the situation the children were in, he was heard (Maddocks, 2013).

His voicing out was misunderstood, as it was regarded as a symptom of his adolescence and also the tension and conflict with his parents. The review then poses the question of how the children can be encouraged to open up about the occurrences in their homes and their circumstances.

Several errors occurred in the review. These errors were made in social work practice, decision making and even in judgement. The review shows that there were five children who lived with poor emotional and physical conditions for several months. This happened as the emotional well-being, and mental state of their mother deteriorated to the extent of severe impairment.

The error that occurred in social work practice is demonstrated by the inability of the children to talk to any adult that they supposedly trusted. The social work practice errors occurred because the children were pulled out of the universal societal services. Their situation did not allow them to have contact with the health visitors, school, GPs and even the early year’s services. People follow and use protocols regarding finding the children who are missing from education.

The enrollment of children with services that are universal like school is reliant on the parents doing the right thing for their children (Maddocks, 2013). The social services were not aware of and did not recognize the chronic dependency of Amanda upon alcohol even though they were in contact with the family. The services though had knowledge that Amanda was drinking. The social services failed in knowing when the condition of Amanda became so extreme because their records of her showed that she was okay.

The social work services also failed to address the fact that Amanda abused substances. This error resulted in emotional and physical instability and the inability of Amanda to take care of her children, an act that resulted in the death of Hamzah Khan. The social services also erred in trusting Amanda when she persuaded services like health and education that they lived in a section of the country that was different. It later became evident that despite the apparent coercion of children by Amanda, the death of Hamzah was not a secret anymore.

There were also errors made in the decision making process. There were instances that the decisions were made without knowledge and hindsight to know what the true picture of the situation was. One of these instances is when the people in charge made an effort to check information and primarily relied on what the family said, instead of getting to the point where Hamzah or his siblings who were the subjects and reasons for the inquiry had been seen (Maddocks, 2013). There was never a visit to the home of Amanda because they thought that it was not necessary.

The process of decision making need not rely on the impression of the children being safe and preferably well (Maddocks, 2013). Instead, it needs to undertake inquiries that are more reflective and inquisitive. These inquiries can either be done through a common assessment framework (CAF) or when making assessments and enquiries about the chances that a child is at risk of great harm or is in need. This way, it is easier to avoid the danger that lurks behind the good impressions.

The errors on judgement were made because some judgements were made while relying on hindsight. These judgements were made without proper analysis or even enough information. In case that is emotional and highly charged like the case of Hamzah, there is the probability of loss of honest learning. This is because of the hindsight being crudely applied which can result in ingenuity.

There will continue to be a preoccupation associated with looking at the incorrect information and evidence unless there exists an understanding of why and how the information is being processed. The judgements were focused on the imperative that was immediate of whether any action was needed which was an error. This was evident because most of the responses by the agency were performed through arrangements of duty instead of focusing on enquiries and assessments that were more reflective.

Understanding complex family environments when undertaking assessments is fundamental. This is because it will help in knowing why the families are compelled to select life situations and circumstances. It is also important to consider interventions for families that are vulnerable and are affected by substance use, domestic violence and substance misuse.

In the case of Amanda, she was depressed and experienced traumatic isolation (Maddocks, 2013). These occurrences were a result of the death of her dearly beloved mother and the disintegration of the relationship she had with the father of her children for several years.

On several occasions, help was provided and with great persistence and sensitivity sometimes. However, the help they received faced several and significant challenges. For example, neither the father nor the mother felt able to note the problems for most of the time and the psychological and emotional impairment lead them to refuse help. This refusal was a result of the concerns of exacerbating their situation (Maddocks, 2013). Amanda neglecting Hamzah was because of her increased impairment and withdrawal from contact with the professionals and community.

The complex families do not appreciate being compelled into reliving their experiences. In this case, the family was reluctant to disclose any additional information to that which the court already had.

In fact, as we get from the case review, one of the witnesses had to be compelled to make an appearance in court. Amanda was neither able nor willing to give a complete account, either to the SCR or to the trial, of why and how her life got transformed for the worse.

The trial later made an establishment of guilt for cruelty and neglect but could not establish the reasons for it (Maddocks, 2013). The family was not able to tell to any service the appalling conditions that were prevalent by the time the child died.

The court gave a non-molestation order to the father of the children because he assaulted Amanda Hutton. It is quite confusing though how the father who was violent and abusive to his partner was able to have a role in the upbringing of the children.

Some psychological and sociological theories can be used to explain domestic abuse, use of substances, and even mental problems. Violence is an extreme form of abuse, aggression and domestic abuse is a form of violence. The problem of violence can be approached and addressed by psychologists from the perspective of nurture and nature.

They say that nature focuses on what we inherit or genes and nurture focuses on how the things that we inherit interacts with experience, (Anderson, Beckles, & Fleming, 2015). The psychologists say that the negative outcomes for example health crises, psychological disorders are associated with poor parenting and environment.

There are several factors for partner victimization, and they include lack of educational attainment, unemployment, impulsivity, and alcohol abuse among others. Poverty has also increased the chances of suffering from mental illness because the affected do not have the financial capability to get proper medical attention.

When the father of the children molests Amanda, she does not go to the police. Instead, she stays silent about them. The victims of domestic violence most likely to contract human papillomavirus, to smoke cigarettes and to use illegal drugs (Alejo, 2014).

Domestic violence affects the mental health of the victims negatively, and as a result, the victims are vulnerable to victimization, making a vicious cycle of violence (Alejo, 2014). Several occasions of domestic violence followed and on at least one of the occasions, it always was one of the children who went to report the violence.

Recent research has shown that just merely reporting the incident of violence to the police minimizes the risk of a lot more incidents (Zuzana, 2010). More information about the violence was later reported by one of the children in 2007. Studies by the United States government have found that women are physically abused by their intimate partners.

Domestic violence exposure has significant impacts on the adult who has been victimized and her children. The children who have gotten exposed to domestic violence are bound to experience social and emotional problems. The children also experience reduced academic performance, depression and anxiety.

These problems together with neglect can make the children starve and suffer or result in death like in the case of Hamzah. This is evident in the way Amanda treats the children. She neglects her children, an act that has seen the death of the child Hamzah Khan. Researchers have linked the problem of domestic violence in several families to marriage formation and even teen pregnancy.

In the summer of 2007, Amanda sought help from the social services for accommodation away from the father of her children. The social services got involved, with some of them being the Youth Offending Team, the police along with the specialist services. Even though she went to seek help from the services, Amanda was not able to keep up with the appointments that were offered to her.

Later on, in 2008, she went to the police on more than a single occasion when one of her children had gone missing, but when the officer scheduled a meet with her, she backed out. In December 2008,   there was an incident where the father of the children made a forced entry and assaulted Amanda for another time. The father got prosecuted and also received a sentence, the community sentence that needed him to go through sessions of a program of domestic abuse which was designed to help the men change their character.

There was little understanding of the case of Amanda that was going to be used during risk assessments and decision making. The CSC author realized the history of Amanda and her inability to cope with everything. The extent of the known information reflected that the assessments that were conducted were of face value. With the introduction of the recording tool that was attached to the electronic records of the child.

it is easier and quick to access the most important information about the child. The system One can provide the health professionals with improved family information. For the services like health visiting, the data known about the family did not get subjected to enough critical analysis regarding understanding the implications for Hamzah and the other children of Amanda.

The idea of a community of practice is rooted in the accounts of the human learning social nature that is developing (Wenger, 2010). Power is the ability to get other people to do the things preferably would not do. To reach our goals no matter which goals, we have to get involved with cooperation and sometimes conflict with the others.

The ideologies that are powerful give us the bridge that lies between reason, morality, emotion and reason (Mann, 2012). In the case study, the social services keep trying to get Amanda to give her testimony to the court, but she is adamant because of the fear of reliving her experiences. When the father of the children of Amanda assaults her, it is one of the children who take the step of going to the police.

Some events demonstrated the dynamic of power in the review. For example, when the police received a tip concerning the poor conditions that the household of Amanda lives, they perform a raid. This raid gives a turn of events as the authorities find the body of the child Hamzah.

It is through this that they can later on establish the mental problems of Amanda. The power of the authorities is also shown when a non-molestation order is given to the father of the children. This power helps Amanda during her healing process even though her mental health has deteriorated.

Emotional intelligence skills act as mediators between the emotional labour and the support development for therapeutic and professional relationships (McKenna). There are standards of proficiency as regulated by the HCPC that are necessary for effective and safe practice as a social worker.

These standards are used to give the worker the clear expectations that are needed for the worker. These include the ability to recognize the need to manage their land of work, the ability to appropriately respond to situations that are unexpected, the ability to manage the conflicting or competing interests and also the ability to maintain records.

The work done by the social services are with the proficiency standards and the social work models. This is evident in the case of Amanda and Hamzah. The social services authority was able to maintain the little records of the household of Amanda. These records were stored in an electric catalogue and anyone who wanted to get the information easily and fast was able to access it.

In the situation of Amanda, despite being assaulted, one of the children is the one who dared to go to the authorities. Whenever the social services came to the house of Amanda, they were not able to get sufficient information. The social services responded appropriately though when the assault report was made and also when Amanda reported that one of her children was missing.

Conclusively, the effects of substance abuse can be very adverse. From the review, it is obvious that the poor living conditions and depression drove Amanda in the direction of illicit drugs which she used as an escape. These drugs were not healthy, and as a result, she was addicted alongside withdrawing herself from the community and the outside world.

Amanda neglected herself and decided to wallow in depression, a behavior that saw the death of Hamzah. The review details the effects of substance abuse, poverty, depression and domestic violence among other unfortunate situations the service users found themselves in.

There are some ways in which social work practice can be able to manage cases with multiple, compound and complex issues like domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health issues. These ways include visiting the homes of the people around them, creating and spreading awareness on the effects of drug abuse, educating people on the importance of living in harmony.

The social services can also set up training areas for the people to learn to defend themselves and also for the people to learn how to improve the personal relationships. For those who are ill, the social services can take them to the hospital and also educate them on the importance of letting their kids pursue their studies.


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