TITLE OF THE PUBLICATION
Child maltreatment: Children’s representations of family and psychosocial risk
SURNAME AND NAME OF AUTHOR(S)
Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias
PLACE AND DATE OF PUBLICATION
TYPE OF PUBLICATION
LANGUAGE OF THE DOCUMENT
LANGUAGE OF THE REVIEW
Identification of students’ at risk
DESCRIPTION OF CONTENTS
This Master dissertation explores the psychosocial risk in childhood through the children’s own discourse, and thus gains access to children’s experiences, representations and meanings. Research undertaken aims at understanding the representations children have of the family concept and of psychosocial risk.
Because the child needed to have its voice heard, the research methodology is a qualitative case study which seeks a rich description of the social representations of a group of children. Taken that children are competent social actors and interpreters of their environments, they were asked to comment, from their own perspectives, experience and practice, on the aspects of risk of their familial environments, and on parental practices used in the family. The researcher was also interested in understanding whether the fact that these children live in so-called risk situations affects their perceptions on the family. The research tools used were semi-structured interviews and drawings as they are ethical in research with children.
The first chapter lays out the theoretical framework based on four thematic areas, which are: the socio-historical background of the family; the concept of childhood; psychosocial risk; judicial entities and tools for the protection of children’s rights. The second chapter on methodology presents the aims, and objectives of research as well as the main research questions. The third chapter presents and discusses data.
COMMENTS ON THIS PUBLICATION
When a child is at risk, it is an ethical imperative to remove the risk, Thus, to all those who work with children it is important to hear children’s own voices when they are vulnerable. The notion of risk in childhood is nuclear in what concerns the origins of the concept, its history or its content. From an ecological point of view, which is the perspective argued in this research, psychosocial risk involves many sources and results from the interaction of several aspects. This is especially relevant socially because all children’s rights issues, as they are lived daily by children, are on the political agendas and thus feed research on children at risk, which expands this field of knowledge.
Based on the researcher’s experience as social care technician, the research started from her experience with children and youth at risk and with children who were abused by their families. Those experiences reinforced the need for adults to listen to children at risk and spend time with them in order to know their experience and integrate them into the diverse social issues that may be linked to them. This is also important to evaluate, diagnose and act on behalf of the child within the legal framework and by meeting the child’s needs and those of her family.
This particular study also shows that it is important to integrate several fields of knowledge, such as the sociology of childhood, the sociology of the family, social psychology and law studies in order to gain access to the full picture.
Researchers should adopt a discoverer posture, because the child’s world is full of doubts and uncertainties. If the researcher does not use an open mind and does not listen actively to the child’s possibilities, if the researcher contacts with children from a full knowing attitude this will result in ignoring the lived realities of children and in not understanding their representations on that reality.
Name of Compiler
Name of Institution
Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco
Role in the institution