'Racism, ‘bad mothers’ and child abuse in news media: A role for social work advocacy'

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dc.contributor.author Beddoe, Elizabeth en
dc.coverage.spatial Bolzano,Italy en
dc.date.accessioned 2014-07-10T04:48:46Z en
dc.date.issued 2014-04-16 en
dc.identifier.citation 4th European Conference for Social Work Research, Bolzano,Italy, 15 Apr 2014 - 17 Apr 2014. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/22455 en
dc.description.abstract Social workers are frequently critical of the role of media reporting of family violence. While it is understandable that child deaths become the focus of public scrutiny, in New Zealand a cultural ‘story’ is told about child abuse. Both mainstream journalists and columnists employ race, class and gender stereotyping in discussing child abuse. Columnists have a special power -- their cruel words shock and their status affords their polemic some gravitas. And with the freedom offered by public comment the tone becomes more anti-poor and misogynist. Inflammatory judgements about mothers underscore an ideological deviance narrative that seeks to frame child abuse with a central folk-devil figure -- the bad Maori welfare mother. It is likely that the inexplicable behaviour of perpetrators leads to casting about for explanations; mothers are thus an easy target, even if they too have experienced violence at the hands of the abuser. A media focus on deaths of Maori children suggests that Maori families, and specifically Maori mothers, have become central to a moral panic about claims that child abuse is a ‘cultural’ problem, rather than an outcome of poverty, discrimination and institutional racism. There are consequences for social work in this moral panic discourse: moralistic, individualising and surveillant approaches to families with the greatest need. A focus on ‘bad mothers’ may cement an artificial divide between adult and child protective services at a time when the needs of vulnerable children and their caregivers may benefit from co-location of child and adult services. Ultimately a focus on cultural ‘dysfunction’ perpetuates social injustice – ignoring poverty, racism, ingrained sexism and other sources of alienation. To counter this is a major challenge for human rights focussed social work. This paper explores the potential role of social work research in challenging these media narratives. en
dc.description.uri http://ecswr-2014.unibz.it/en/default.html en
dc.relation.ispartof 4th European Conference for Social Work Research en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.subject Child abuse en
dc.subject Media discourse en
dc.subject Racism en
dc.subject Mothers en
dc.title 'Racism, ‘bad mothers’ and child abuse in news media: A role for social work advocacy' en
dc.type Conference Item en
pubs.author-url http://ecswr-2014.unibz.it/en/programme/ParallelsessionsWednesday.html en
pubs.finish-date 2014-04-17 en
pubs.start-date 2014-04-15 en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.subtype Abstract en
pubs.elements-id 443135 en
pubs.org-id Education and Social Work en
pubs.org-id Counselling,HumanServ &Soc.Wrk en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2014-06-16 en


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