Child protection social work in covid-19 reflections on home visits and digital intimacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article brings together digital anthropology and social work scholarship to create an applied anthropology of everyday digital intimacy. Child protection social work involves home visits in the intimate spaces of others, where modes of sensorial and affective engagement combine with professional awareness and standards to constitute sensitive understandings of children’s well-being and family relationships. In the COVID-19 pandemic, social work practice has shifted, partly, to distance work where social workers engage digitally with service users in their homes while seeking to constitute similarly effective modes of intimacy and understanding. We bring practice examples from our study of social work and child protection during COVID-19 together with anthropologies of digital intimacy to examine implications for new modes of digital social work practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-30
Number of pages4
JournalAnthropology in Action
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research on which this article is based was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Grant Number ES/V003798/1, as part of the project Child Protection and Social Distancing: Improving the Capacity of Social Workers to Keep Children Safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are deeply grateful to the local authorities, managers, social workers, family support workers and families for their generosity in allowing us to observe and interview them for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Child protection
  • COVID-19
  • Digital anthropology
  • Digital intimacy
  • Home visits
  • Social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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