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An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection / James M. Brady

DOI (Published version): 10.23889/Suthesis.46061

Abstract

In the United Kingdom (UK), revelations of child abuse on an unprecedented scale have led to calls for better detection methods. Paramedics are invited into private households and are uniquely positioned to assist with this.This study aimed to explore the role that paramedics may play in child prote...

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Published: 2018
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa46061
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first_indexed 2018-11-23T20:19:40Z
last_indexed 2019-10-21T16:52:19Z
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spelling 2018-11-26T09:16:29.6497355 v2 46061 2018-11-23 An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection 2018-11-23 In the United Kingdom (UK), revelations of child abuse on an unprecedented scale have led to calls for better detection methods. Paramedics are invited into private households and are uniquely positioned to assist with this.This study aimed to explore the role that paramedics may play in child protection with a view to informing paramedic policy, education and practice. Literature contains few empirical studies on paramedics and child protection. Legislation and policy documents acknowledge their potential contribution, but data is scant. Research is needed on their actual involvement, level of knowledge and skills.This study, undertaken in one UK ambulance service, employed a sequential mixed method design of two phases. In Phase 1, paramedics (N=276) completed a survey on their experiences, perceptions and attitudes.The resulting data informed Phase 2: paramedic focus groups (N=7). Discussions were thematically analysed. Carper’s ‘ways of knowing’ was used as a theoretical framework throughout. Findings suggest paramedics understand they have a key role to play, but lack clarity over the role. Although confident in their knowledge of physical abuse and neglect, they are less confident in their knowledge of sexual abuse (SA), childhood sexual exploitation (CSE) and female genital mutilation (FGM). More than half of respondents felt child protection referrals had not been made, that should have been. Barriers to safe practice include limited access to ‘expert’ led training; lack of feedback from social services, and lack of time. Decision making is heavily dependent on intuition. Closer working relationships between paramedicine and social services are needed. Timely bi-directional communication is vital. Training input from social services is needed if paramedics are to develop greater confidence in detecting SA, CSE, and FGM. Finally, paramedicine needs to reflect further on the challenges that can arise in prioritising the best interests of children when working with families. E-Thesis Child protection, Paramedic, Safeguarding, Ambulance 31 12 2018 2018-12-31 10.23889/Suthesis.46061 COLLEGE NANME COLLEGE CODE Swansea University Doctoral Ph.D 2018-11-26T09:16:29.6497355 2018-11-23T14:48:42.3977825 College of Human and Health Sciences College of Human and Health Sciences James M. Brady 1 0046061-23112018160923.pdf Brady_James_M_Final_PhD_Thesis_Redacted.pdf 2018-11-23T16:09:23.9530000 Output 3479422 application/pdf E-Thesis – open access true 2018-11-23T00:00:00.0000000 true
title An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection
spellingShingle An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection
,
title_short An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection
title_full An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection
title_fullStr An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection
title_full_unstemmed An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection
title_sort An investigation of the role of paramedics in child protection
author ,
author2 James M. Brady
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publishDate 2018
institution Swansea University
doi_str_mv 10.23889/Suthesis.46061
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hierarchy_top_title College of Human and Health Sciences
hierarchy_parent_id collegeofhumanandhealthsciences
hierarchy_parent_title College of Human and Health Sciences
department_str College of Human and Health Sciences{{{_:::_}}}College of Human and Health Sciences{{{_:::_}}}College of Human and Health Sciences
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description In the United Kingdom (UK), revelations of child abuse on an unprecedented scale have led to calls for better detection methods. Paramedics are invited into private households and are uniquely positioned to assist with this.This study aimed to explore the role that paramedics may play in child protection with a view to informing paramedic policy, education and practice. Literature contains few empirical studies on paramedics and child protection. Legislation and policy documents acknowledge their potential contribution, but data is scant. Research is needed on their actual involvement, level of knowledge and skills.This study, undertaken in one UK ambulance service, employed a sequential mixed method design of two phases. In Phase 1, paramedics (N=276) completed a survey on their experiences, perceptions and attitudes.The resulting data informed Phase 2: paramedic focus groups (N=7). Discussions were thematically analysed. Carper’s ‘ways of knowing’ was used as a theoretical framework throughout. Findings suggest paramedics understand they have a key role to play, but lack clarity over the role. Although confident in their knowledge of physical abuse and neglect, they are less confident in their knowledge of sexual abuse (SA), childhood sexual exploitation (CSE) and female genital mutilation (FGM). More than half of respondents felt child protection referrals had not been made, that should have been. Barriers to safe practice include limited access to ‘expert’ led training; lack of feedback from social services, and lack of time. Decision making is heavily dependent on intuition. Closer working relationships between paramedicine and social services are needed. Timely bi-directional communication is vital. Training input from social services is needed if paramedics are to develop greater confidence in detecting SA, CSE, and FGM. Finally, paramedicine needs to reflect further on the challenges that can arise in prioritising the best interests of children when working with families.
published_date 2018-12-31T04:00:14Z
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