The Role Of Narrative and Social Networks in Thwarting Violence and Sexual Abuse in Young People’s Lives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Combining narrative analysis with social network analysis, this article analyses the case of a young Swedish female who had been physically and sexually abused. We show how she became trapped in an abusive relationship at the age of 14 following social work intervention in her family home, and how she ultimately escaped from this abuse aged 19. The analysis illustrates the significance of responses to interpersonal violence from the social networks that surround young people; responses which can both entrap them in abusive relationships by blaming them for their problems and enable them to escape abuse by recognising their strengths and facilitating their choices. The article argues the case for social work approaches that envision young people’s social networks after protective interventions have been implemented. The article explains that such an approach has the potential to reconcile the competing challenges of being responsive to young people’s needs while anticipating the heightened risk of being exposed to sexual abuse young people face when estranged from their families or after their trust in professionals has been eroded

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Early online date19 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019