The Impact of working with child abuse on the social support worker

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Mahon, Lochlainn
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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Context: The roles of social support workers increasingly play huge relevance in Irish society. The researcher examined the lives of support workers that were directly involved in working with cases of child abuse. The aim of this research project is to gain an insight into the actual lives of these individuals, to see from their perspective how they value their work and how it has perhaps changed them as a person. Method: A qualitative method using an IPA (Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis) design was implemented to analyse the personal, lived experiences of the workers. The data was collected from five individuals consisting of both genders from mixed age groups, all working in different fields of social support that deal with child abuse cases. They worked in different geographical locations. Results: There was a clear link between the results that emerged from the qualitative research and the literature. There were additional interesting discoveries, such as the reality that being committed to this area has inflicted on the personal lives of those working in this area. This was made possible through the personalised function of the interviews and the evaluation through IPA. Conclusion: After conducting such a specific research topic, it was beneficial to provide interaction with these participants. The general feedback from the participants to the researcher was that they hadn’t considered so many of the areas discussed. The participants began to realise that in fact they had been deeply affected and changed by their experiences. The research gives the support worker a voice and an opportunity to articulate their experiences.