Emotional Harm : Domestic Violence

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Question :

Assessment 5 :Emotional harm: Domestic Violence: Case Study 

Eddie: Emotional harm: Domestic Violence

A school contacted child protection services about an Aboriginal youth called Eddie (aged 13) whose behaviour had changed dramatically over the last six months. He had changed from being a hard-working, successful and popular student to one who was withdrawn and anxious. His attendance had fallen dramatically and he had been caught sneaking out of school several times.  His class teacher tried to speak to him but he wouldn’t discuss any worries and became agitated when the teacher suggested a home visit to meet his mother Jenny. Eddie became angry when the teacher referred to Eddie’s stepfather Jack as his ‘dad’.  Jenny (an Aboriginal woman) had missed several appointments with the education welfare officer and he had been unable to meet her at all. 

A neighbour then made an anonymous call to the police describing shouting and screams coming from the family home.  The police visited and found that Jenny had obviously been severely beaten. They asked Jack to leave the family home and took Jenny to the hospital for treatment.Jenny refused to say who  or what had caused her injuries and insisted that she had fallen down the stairs.

This prompted a referral to child protection services. Clare, the child protection social worker,visited two days later to find Jack back at home and Jenny saying all was now back to normal. The social worker did some direct work with Eddie at school. He said that his mother had been beaten on a regular basis over the six months since Jack had lost his job and had increased his consumption of alcohol. He was really scared that she would be killed. Eddie was clear that he had never been hit by Jack but said that Jack is always picking on him and calling him stupid. Eddie would like his mother to leave Jack but thinks she is scared to do so. He asked that no one tell Jack what he said in case he took it out on his mother. 

Clare asked to meet Jenny alone at the office to discuss their concerns about Eddie, but when Jenny arrived she had brought Jack with her, who refused to stay in the waiting room while the social worker spoke to Jenny. Jenny also said that she wanted Jack to come to the meeting as he was Eddie’s new dad and have every right to be there. Clare found Jack to be intimidating and was anxious to avoid a confrontation that might put herself, Jenny or Eddie in danger; she chose to hold the meeting but kept away from the topic of domestic violence and discussed general concerns that the school had about Eddie.  Jack dominated this discussion, saying that Eddie was lazy and not very bright. Jenny sat quietly agreeing. Clare strongly felt that Jenny was intimidated and scared. 

Clare tried to meet Jenny alone on a number of occasions over the next week by calling at odd times, but either there was no answer or Jack answered the door saying that Jenny was not home. 


Clare decided that she could no longer avoid tackling the issue as she was concerned about Eddie’s safety and the safety of his mother. She decided to discuss her concerns with Eddie.Eddie agreed that the violence had to stop and was concerned about his mother.  He was also scared about the potential consequences.  Eddie explained to Clare that he often stayed with his maternal grandmother who lives very close to his mother when he wants to get away.According to Eddie, Jenny and Jack were happy with this informal arrangement as long as they knew of his whereabouts.  The grandmother was also worried about the safety of her daughter and grandson and wanted the police and “the welfare” to get involved and “sort Jack out”. 

Clare made an appointment to discuss her concerns with Jack and Jenny. Clare spent some time getting to know Jack and Jenny and engage in a stance of “respectful uncertainty” and focus on the emotional impact on Eddie. Instead of taking an authoritarian stance Clare addressed the concerns in a therapeutic environment.  Jack initially rebuffed any attempts by Clare to engage on the topic but recognised that the situation needed to change.  He and Jenny agreed to attend a family meeting to determine how best to access support, to make changes and ensure that Eddie is safe emotionally and free from fear and anxiety. Jack and Jenny both decided to invite some extended family members.  Jenny wanted to invite two male elders from her community in Coober Pedy who have experience in working with domestic violence.

In preparation for the meeting, the worker met each invited member to discuss the situation and the intent of the meeting. Clare also met with Jenny and Eddie, and then, Jack and Eddie separately to engage in further assessment and discussion and preparation the family conference.  Eddie expressed that he felt able to attend the meeting and wanted his maternal grandmother to also advocate on his behalf.   Eddie had strong opinions about what should happen and where he would like to live. 

The family meeting was convened. Many decisions were made to ensure Eddie and Jenny’s safety.  All family members agreed that Jack and Jenny were committed to each other and to Eddie. The extended family members who attended the meeting were ready to provide any support that Eddie, Jenny and Jack required.  There was a high level of motivation for change to occur and make sure the Eddie’s best interests were paramount.  Eddie was to live with his grandmother in the short term and have regular contact with his mother.  The grandmother was happy to take responsibility for this and she would contact Clare if she had any concerns for Eddie’s safety.  Eddie was keen to spend time with an Aboriginal trauma counsellor to make sense about what has been occurring in his family and help him with the emotional trauma and sense of confusion. Jack was to attend a cultural program with Aboriginal elders from Jenny’s community about domestic violence and alcohol abuse and Jenny was to seek personal trauma counselling to facilitate healing.  Jack and Jenny, were to then attend couple counselling to resolve the issues that had resulted in violence in order to enable progress. 

The family were well connected with people from the Aboriginal community who conducted trauma counselling.Clare was provided with the contact details and updates about progress. Furthermore, Clare was to maintain contact with Eddie to assess and review his progress both within his family and at school. Family meeting to be reconvened in three months time.  

Read the Case Study Eddie – 

“Emotional harm: domestic violence” 

2. The intent of this assessment is for you to critique the assessment and intervention and make some judgement about the case study and go through the following steps. 

3. Read the case study carefully and consider the following questions.

a. What is the assessment of Eddie’s development and wellbeing? 

b. What are the factors that prevent Jack and Jenny from prioritising Eddie’s wellbeing?
c. What are the goals and process of intervention? Are they consistent with Eddie’s best interests? 

d. What is your assessment of the safety plan? 

4. In consideration of the above questions it is important to consider the following.

 a. Identify the issues in the case study:

 i. What actions were taken 

ii. Were these actions appropriate and why?

 iii. Were there any consequences or potential consequences of the taken actions?

 iv. Was anything omitted or not considered? 

v. Were actions in line with child protection practice? 

b. Link theories to practice – Using the knowledge, theories and literature that you have learnt in this topic please make a judgement as to whether the:

 i. The information gathered and assessment process focused on the development and wellbeing of Eddie? 

ii. Was he heard and visible throughout the process?

 iii. How do you understand the factors/circumstances that contribute to Eddie’s adversity?

 iv. Engaging in reflective practice, what was done well in relation to intervention? 

v. What could have been done differently?

vi. What are some other considerations? 

5. Write up your assignment answering the questions and clearly linking theory to practice informed by reflective practice. 

6. Draft an analysis of the case study critique. 

7. Your analysis should include: 

a. An overview of theories and literature informing child protection practice across all phases of work. 

b. Critique of the case study particularly referring to Eddie’s circumstances 

c. Include a reference list 

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Answer :


According to Geffner (2014), domestic violence is the primary problem of today's society. Many families are suffering from this particular aspect. This concept of domestic violence also creates an ample amount of effect to their other family members such as the children of the family. In this particular case, Eddie is suffering from that aspect and his performance in studies is getting worst. Therefore, the teachers are very much aware of his situation. In order to mitigate this issue, the teachers along with the social worker Clare needs to intervene in this matter. After that, they have decided to hold a meeting with all the family members along with the other Aboriginal people in order to resolve the issue of domestic violence. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of domestic violence over Eddie. The study also aims to satisfy the fact that how this issue can be mitigated.  

Assessment of Eddie’s well-being

As a result of domestic violence in the family of Jack and Jenny, the most affected person is Eddie who is literally a child. He was losing his interest in studies and he also withdrew his participation from the different activities of the school. This certain aspect mainly holds back the growth of Eddie (Lansford et al. 2014). Along with that, he was feeling the mental trauma that anything can happen to him also. In addition to that, his behaviour was changing drastically over a long period of time. Earlier he was a hard working student however this incident of domestic violence in his home got his morale down and several times he was caught sneaking from the school premises. The teacher tried to spoke with him however it resulted negatively. Eddie was not eager to discuss any kind of problems to his teacher. However, when the entire incident of domestic violence came in front of everyone, then Eddie started to cooperate with his teacher and the counsellor. 

The counsellor, Clare had arranged a meeting with Eddie’s family where she spoke to every individual regarding the matter. She discussed the matter with every member and gathered the view of every member. Then they had decided to shift Eddie to his grandmother’s place for a certain period. Along with that, the counsellor also provided time to Eddie’s parents to sort out the matter in between them. However, in that particular time period, Eddie would be in regular touch with his mother and his mother would be in regular touch with the teacher. As Eddie enjoys to stay with his grandmother, therefore it may increase his performance in studies and the other activities. Along with that, Rodrigues et al. (2016) said that the constant touch with his mother would also make him feel that his mother is safe enough with his stepdad. Therefore, the decision regarding this issue can be considered as a good one and that can enhance the performance level of Eddie and make him comfortable to participate in the different school activities.

Factors preventing prioritising of Eddie's well-being

It has been discussed earlier that the domestic violence is considered as the biggest problem of the society. The different family members are the most affected one of this issue (Swanston, Bowyer & Vetere, 2014). In this particular case, Eddie who is a thirteen-year-old aboriginal child is the main victim of his family's domestic violence. His father Jack was an unemployed person and was also addicted to alcohol. Therefore, the entire amount of frustration was over Jenny, his wife. Jack used to beat Jenny very often and this particular thing made Eddie morally down. Earlier he used to be a bright and hardworking student, however now he is losing interest in his studies and also withdraws his participation from the different school activities. The children are the one who took all the activities in home seriously and think about those activities largely. Therefore, Foshee et al. (2015) said that this affects the children very much that make the morale down of that children. 

However, one thing that needs to be taken into account that, Jenny never complained this issue to the local authority. She badly needed to raise the alarm regarding the domestic violence. As she was not able to meet with Eddie’s teacher in the meetings, therefore it was tough for Jenny to know about Eddie’s situation. Along with that, according to Katz (2015), both the parents need to understand one thing that the behaviour that they do in the home has an immense amount of effect over their child. Therefore, Jack needed to control his alcoholic nature in order to prevent the domestic violence (Moss, 2015). If Jenny informed the situation of domestic violence to the local authority, then the situation would be different from what is now. Along with that, Eddie enjoyed to stay with his grandmother, however, the situation of his family did not provide him with a proper level of comfort. These are the certain aspects that prevented the well-being of Eddie. 

Goals and Process of intervention

According to Överlien & Aas (2016), the main aim of the intervention process is to prioritise the wellbeing of Eddie. In order to make this thing happen both the family members and the counsellor have to play an important role. As Eddie was losing his interest from studies, therefore it hampers his future objectives. Along with that, the drastic change in Eddie’s nature also made him separate from the other students and he lost his interest in order to participate in the different school activities. The process of intervention mainly required to gather all the family member to a place and discuss the issue properly (Herman, 2015). Jack and Jenny need to describe the fact that what is going on in between them. In addition to that, the level of frustration of getting jobless also works as a catalyst in this issue. According to Sargent et al. (2016), all the members need to discuss their problems with the counsellor so that it can derive a proper solution regarding this matter. 

The meeting mainly derives the fact that the proper communication ca sort out the issues. Along with that, they also need to provide a proper time to themselves in order to sort out this issue (Överlien, 2017). The process of intervention included the fact that Eddie would stay with his grandmother and he would be in constant touch with his mother. That ensures Eddie about the safety of his mother. On the other hand, Jack and Jenny would stay together and would try to sort out their issue and Jenny would also be in constant touch with Eddie’s teacher. Therefore, that can ensure Eddie’s well being in his family.

Assessment of the Safety Plan

The Safety Plan in question has been well thought-out and executed to perfection. It has managed to ensure the main aim that all safety plans desire – the safety of their targeted service users and people (Humphreys & Stanley, 2015). In this case, the social workers in question have been successful in managing the interests and well-being of Eddie and his mother Jenny. In addition, they have also taken the factors and actions of Jack into consideration; instead of taking the short route by just blaming Jack for all that has gone wrong with the family in question, they have ensured that he deserves a second chance as well. This has had the positive consequences of a successful meeting between the involved social workers and the members of the family, with a promise for a next meeting being held all the same.

Another positive aspect of the safety plan is that it has considered the importance of time to utmost perfection. The neighbours wasted no time in informing authorities of the shouting going on in Eddie’s home, out of fear and concern for their safety and well-being. The timely intervention that social workers like Clare made, in this case, saved a potentially disastrous situation in the nearby future (Jaffe et al. 2017). By addressing the issues that Jack has faced and taken the help of others during the meeting has ensured that the root cause of the domestic violence conflict that has taken into serious consideration, thus exponentially increasing the chances of overall success in this regard. They have also made sure that all problems that have caused Eddie to become withdrawn and disinterested in schoolwork have been addressed properly, which in turn helps in making sure that these kinds of problems so not harm his mental, physical and emotional growth and development in any shape or form. 

Issues of the Study – Actions and their appropriateness

The main issue observed in this study has been the violence that Jack has inflicted on his wife Jenny following a period of alcohol abuse. The main problem has probably stemmed from the fact that Jack lost his job around six months ago, which can be attributed to his current behaviour and frustrations. In a fit of alcohol-induced rage, he has often beaten Jenny up quite badly, which also had the unfortunate consequence of emotionally scarring and scarring Eddie. The actions taken in response to this case have been appropriate and correct.

The neighbours provided a timely intervention by altering the authorities and referring the family to the child protection organisation. The service providing social worker in question, Clare, immediately set forth to take care of the case when she tried to visit Eddie's home and tried to communicate with him properly. Upon learning the main issues, she arranged a meeting with Jenny and even communicated with Jack regarding this case. She then arranged another formal appointment and made sure that people like the Aboriginal elders (who could have provided help with this matter) were able to attend. In addition, she made sure that the negative consequences of this case have been made clear to all involved parties, and encouraged them to act in the best interests of Eddie’s development and future.

All relevant aspects of the case have been considered in a proper and efficient manner, and the steps taken have ensured that the matter has been dealt with in the most appropriate way possible. No relevant steps have been missed or omitted in this regard, either intentionally or unintentionally. In addition, the viewpoints of all involved parties have been considered appropriately, which ensures a much higher chance of success in improving the behaviour and actions of all involved people in this case (Friestino & Kelly, 2015). Since the actions have ensured Eddie’s well-being and safety, they have been in accordance with the Child Protection practices. These actions have ensured a potentially better future for Jack’s family, and have helped in averting a potentially disastrous situation in the future.  


Guedes et al. (2016) agree that the social learning theory is one of the theories that can provide relevant insight in this case. It states that the sudden changes in behaviour are often brought upon a person due to the elements of the surrounding environment and personal interaction (Bobonis, González-Brenes & Castro, 2013). The factors of the surroundings often have the greatest impact on the behaviour of a person, a fact reinforced by the observation that Jack's violent behaviour towards his wife is a direct manifestation of the stress that he has undergone as a result of losing his job six months ago. This has also been observed to be the case in Eddie's situation since he has been scared of the occurrences in his home to the point of changing from a serious, diligent and hard-working student to a quiet, withdrawn and disinterested person.

According to Katz (2016), learning theory has stated that the complex behaviour displayed by a person is the modification of many simpler behaviours. Again, this is reinforced by the observations of the people involved in the reviewed case, especially Jack and Eddie. The intervention methods that have been employed have managed to take Eddie's well-being into account since his development and eventual growth into an efficient adult is what made his parents reconcile and agree to improve their current condition in the first place (Katz, Stettler & Gurtovenko, 2016). The gathered information has taken Eddie’s development into account, and he has been heard and has been visible throughout the process. He even helped Clare by providing his own inputs, and he has been instrumental in helping this case reach a satisfying conclusion.

The main factors that led to Eddie’s adversity, namely, the domestic violence inflicted by Jack on his mother Jenny have been addressed and dealt with properly. Contingency plans have been developed and kept on standby to prevent future recurrences as well (Lev-Wiesel et al. 2014).

Reflective Practice

The timely intervention by all of the involved parties as well as prompt actions taken by the involved social worker has ensured that the case has been handled in an efficient and effective manner. While most of the actions taken in this regard have been proper, the attempts to communicate only with Jenny without involving Jack in the initial stages could have been avoided. Actions like these only lead to alienating people like Jack, to the point of them developing further feelings of suspicion. These kinds of feelings can be detrimental to the relationships that these kinds of people have and can lead to further negative consequences in the future (Foshee et al. 2015). Thus, communications with Jack could have been initiated from the very beginning. Some other considerations in this regard include the effects that these kinds of cases can have on their surroundings (people living around them) and Eddie’s classmates. These factors have to be taken seriously as well, in order to prevent the negative effects of such cases from plaguing the society as a whole (Majd & Lou, 2015).


After summing up the entire study, it can be concluded that the effect of domestic violence has a great impact on the children of the family. They get mentally disturbed and it hampers their studies. Therefore, in order to mitigate this certain issue both the family members and the social workers need to take a step forward. That can enhance the performance level of the child. Along with that, the study also described the safety plan that can ensure the safety of Eddie.