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Exploring approaches to child welfare in contexts of domestic violence and abuse: Family group conferences


Child & Family Social Work

Published online on


This article sets out to explore service provision for families affected by domestic violence and abuse. For most families where there are child protection concerns, there are possibilities for intervention from child welfare agencies and domestic abuse services, but these have been criticised as having distinct and disconnected practice cultures and orientation. Recognising this divergence, in this paper, we advocate for safeguarding children affected by domestic violence and abuse using the family group conference (FGC) model. This offers possibilities for a coherent response that integrates both child‐ and women‐centred concerns in a holistic approach to family safety and well‐being. Furthermore, it is well documented that safeguarding work involves professionally‐led decision‐making that is pre‐occupied with the management of risk. FGCs, however, promote a partnership approach that engages families in a more democratic decision‐making process. As such, FGCs offer families the opportunity to develop their own safety and support plans for the protection and care of children recognising the family's inherent strengths.