"An insightful social constructionist analysis of child abuse. Also, practically it points out the most common errors in child abuse investigations, which gives it a substantial applied use."Martin Weinberg, Indiana University
"Howitt's book has a simple aim: examining errors in social work practice which lead to injustice and harm. Its publication will be timely. . . . [Howitt] debunks convincingly numerous self-serving myths that exist within the profession, one of the most important being the assertions regarding the 'rediscovery' of child abuse."William Thompson, University of Reading, UK
How can we interpret and guard against false accusations of physical or sexual child abuse? We understand how harmful abuse is, but we know little about the harm that misguided intervention by child welfare professionals can cause. Drawing on interviews with families and selected case studies, Dennis Howitt examines the controversy that surrounds child abuse prevention programs.
This timely and thoughtful book asks how society's sincere desire to care for and protect its children can lead to such mistakes and who and what is responsible for them. Howitt, a social psychologist with extensive experience in the field, argues that the way in which the notion of child abuse is socially constructed is part of the cause. He further contends that the theory and research that supports professional practice on child abuse contributes to mistakes, as do the unfounded theories and notions of practitioners. He points to new research on the "errors" of child welfare workers, which demonstrate the wide variety of processes involved when things "go wrong." He also discusses ideas of gender in child abuse and the theories that attempt to explain professional errors in the field of child abuse prevention.
Child Abuse Errors is a pioneering work which tackles a difficult and sensitive issue. It is essential reading for all those concerned with child care and protection.