Gränsytor under förhandling
Om socialtjänstens ansvar för stöd till kvinnor som utsatts för våld i nära relationer
Boundaries under negotiation – social services’ responsibility for support to women exposed to violence in close relationships
This article examines social workers’ perceptions of the social services’ mission and task as regards support for women who are subjected to violence in close relationships and where the social services are considered to be limited. The study is qualitative and based on interviews with 16 social workers in eleven municipalities. The interviews have been analysed with conventional content analysis. The analysis shows that the task or obligation of the social services can be formulated in two different ways: to offer support to women exposed or previously exposed to violence in close relationships, or to offer support to women who have left or intend to leave a relationship where they have been subjected to violence. In the analysis of social workers’ descriptions of support they offer, as well as the boundaries for what is beyond the social services’ responsibility, three levels can be identified. The first level, consisting of financial support, placements at women’s shelters and a social worker to talk to, forms a sort of core for the work in the social services, which most, albeit to varying degrees, offer. The second level describes forms of enhanced support, and the third level describes such support which only a few state that they work with or where responsibility issues are more diffuse.