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British Journal of Social Work ; 53(1):386-404, 2023.
Article in English | CINAHL | ID: covidwho-2222590


The rapid global spread of COVID-19 has put increased pressure on health and social service providers, including social workers who continued front line practice throughout the pandemic, engaging with some of the most vulnerable in society often experiencing multiple adversities alongside domestic violence and abuse (DVA). Movement restrictions and stay-at-home orders introduced to slow the spread of the virus, paradoxically leave these families at even greater risk from those within the home. Utilising a survey methodology combining both open- and closed-ended questions, this study captured a picture of social work practice in Ireland with families experiencing DVA during the early waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings highlight both the changes and challenges in work practices and procedures that limit social work assessment and quality contact with families, changes to the help-seeking behaviours from victims/survivors, as well as emerging innovative practice responses with enhanced use of technology. Implications for practice include an increased awareness of the risk and prevalence of DVA accelerated by the pandemic. Conclusions assert that social work assessment and intervention with families experiencing DVA must remain adaptive to the changing COVID-19 context and continue to develop innovative practice approaches.