‘Professional judgement undermined’
More than half (55%) of respondents said they feel their professional judgement is ‘never’ or only ‘sometimes’ respected by judges and lawyers, while over a third (35%) said they feel ‘very’ or ‘quite’ unconfident when giving evidence and being cross examined.
“It has become very nasty in court, and unprofessional the way some solicitors and barristers cross examine social workers in court,” one social worker said, adding that it is, “worse if the local authority and the guardian don’t agree on the child’s care plan”.
Less then a fifth (18%) of social workers said they feel ‘very confident’ when being cross examined in court, although just under half (46%) said they feel ‘quite’ confident.
One said: “I get terribly nervous before… However, once in the witness box, I am confident answering questions from barristers. Although they’ve read the files, I have met with the families and children on numerous occasions and made my recommendations on this basis.”
Social work in the family courts: special report Community Care survey reveals many social workers still feel undervalued and lack confidence when giving evidence in the family courts More than three quarters of social workers and guardians do not believe that family courts always make the right decisions for children. Just 1% of social workers […]