In search of the voice of children: social workers as allies and gate-keepers

Ann-Margreth E. Olsson, Sven-Erik Olsson

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattning (abstract)


To improve a collaborative work a new institute has emerged in some places in Sweden, the Children’s House (CH), inspired by the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) model. In a CH professionals; police, prosecutors, health care and social services collaborate. One of the guiding ideas for CH is that the child should have to go to only one place during the investigatory process. In an ongoing dialogical participatory action research (DPAR) study the intention is to explore the children’s participation and understanding of CH. The aim is to support and secure a collaborative process with respect for the views of the child where the participating child becomes involved and listened to not only as a victim in an interrogation but as an actor.

In developing evidence-based social work and learning in social work it becomes important that researchers are given opportunity to follow proceedings and listen to different voices including young clients. In the ongoing research project the researchers are participating observing the proceedings in CH and interviewing social workers asking them to mediate contact with participating children and their parents for the researcher. The researchers want to listen to the child’s view about visiting CH, the understanding of the context and the processes before, during and after visiting CH including the process of the social investigation and meetings with social workers.

Several initiatives have been taken to improve participation within the child protection system, among these to develop social workers and social investigation processes from the perspective of being the child’s advocate. Evidence has emerged indicating that the ideas of inviting children into partnership with their social worker, are risking to be superseded by the priority to the forensic interview in CH, conducted by the police. The social workers report and show difficulties in knowing how to orientate themselves in relation to the children. The researcher’s request asking the social workers to invite the participating children and their parents into research collaboration seems to, so far, made the social workers to gate-keepers protecting the children from initiative reminding them of old abusive stories as well as severe proceedings.  



KonferensCollaborative Action Research Network (CARN) Conference Tromsø, Norway, 7-9 November, 2013. "Staying critical - nurturing democratic partnership in action research"
Period80-01-01 → …

Nationell ämneskategori

  • Medicin och hälsovetenskap (3)
  • Samhällsvetenskap (5)


  • barnahus
  • barns deltagande
  • dialogisk deltagande aktionsforskning
  • forskning
  • skyddandem socialt arbete


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