Moral Panics, Claims-Making and Child Protection in the UK

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This paper brings sociological theory on moral panics to a discussion of child protection social work in the UK. We begin by considering the extent to which policy and practice may be susceptible to distortion by ‘claims-making’, the influence of which, we will argue, casts a rarely explored and less understood influence on the service's practice and direction. We conclude that claims-making has had a detrimental effect on child protection, contributing to a coarsening of attitudes towards families in child protection work, a retreat from preventative practice and a deterioration in relationships between social workers, service users and members of the public more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-812
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
Early online date14 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Child protection
  • claims-making
  • moral panics


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