Within this examination of British serious case reviews, Wells provides a subjective appraisal of the learning that could be applied to the sexual exploitation tragedies that have faced children and families, and indeed communities, over recent years. The book has a very accessible style of writing, and is able to summarise clearly and concisely the argument that Wells proffers. Wells offers a strong moral stand point on what he perceives as the decaying morals of British society. He argues, and is able to pull effectively on a breadth of eight serious case reviews to support his argument, that society’s relaxed (or, as he would position it, lax) attitude to young people’s right to make their own decisions about their own sex life is heard and prioritised by government policy on parental rights and sex education that, he concludes, places all young people at risk of significant harm from sexual abuse. The book is divided into three sections, considering evidence, public policy and recommendations. The first part works systematically through eight serious case reviews spanning the period 2013–16. It provides a concise overview and analysis of each serious case review of sexual exploitation, and builds a body of evidence that will go on to support his argument. The second part of the book reflects upon a range of British government policies and procedures that he argues place young people at risk. Wells reviews government policy on health advice and support, sex education and parental consent versus a young person’s right to confidentiality, continuing to build his philosophy that it is this very fabric of support that undermines and disempowers young people’s rights to be protected so that they are placed at risk of sexual exploitation. The third and final part of the book provides clear recommendations that public opinion and government policy and procedure should revert back to a time of modesty and respect for adult decision making. He achieves this eloquently, and the book is an excellent advocate for the Family Education Trust for whom he is director. One is left with a clear understanding of Wells’s perspective and values. However, if one is seeking a balanced argument, this is not the correct edition to read in isolation. It is an accessible, well-written argument that fails to consider any other perspective, so must be read with an understanding of this subjective agenda. Indeed, Frost (2017) provides an argument that serious case reviews come from a deficit perspective and this appears to lend itself to scrutiny of Wells’s argument. Frost argues that child-protection services are, in the main, undertaking an excellent role and that government policy should not be changed in a knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy. Wells appears to have utilised this deficit perspective to support his own argument, and the book would be enhanced with discussion of, even if it had been to reject, the merits of other perspectives. Reference Frost N. P. ( 2017 ) ‘Learning from child protection Serious Case Reviews in England: A critical appraisal’ , Social Work and Social Sciences Review , 18 ( 3 ), pp. 12 – 21 . © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)
The British Journal of Social Work – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2019
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