Skip to main content

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Social Work (GRTSW) Association response to AG – A Serious Case Review

The recent serious case review in relation to AG, a child from a Traveller family living in Norfolk, once again highlights a woeful lack of cultural competence amongst social workers when supporting Gypsy, Roma or Traveller families and the devasting impact this can have on the child(ren).

Dr Dan Allen et al, expressed clearly in their 2018 Project Report for the European Roma Rights Centre - ‘The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children’ that:

 “the uneven attention being given to the role of child protection with Romani and Traveller children means that practice can become determined by individual intuition, sentiment and tacit knowledge rather than empirically or theoretically informed judgment.”

The 2018 report made recommendations around undergraduate/post-graduate training and education to ensure the professional competency and capability of social workers, independent reviewing officers and legal teams. It would appear from reading the AG serious case review, that these recommendations have not been implemented on anything more than an ad hoc basis. 

The newly formed Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Social Work Association (GRTSW Assoc) believes that cultural competency training is not enough. Instead we believe that specialist safeguarding education and training to those who support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families must be delivered by social workers from these communities.  Allen et al state in their 2018 report “unless training is provided on child protection, ideally by social workers with a Romani and Traveller heritage who understand the complications and pressures in child protection, cultural competence training could reinforce stereotypes and homogenisation…” A view we strongly support.


Allison Hulmes, Jackie Bolton & Doreen Dove

GRTSW Association