Paula Sepúlveda Navarrete (University of Cadiz)
Name of the Co-authors:
María de los Ángeles Minguela Recover
Topic: Use and application of social expert reports as well as the necessity of social workers’ formation in Spain
Forensic Social Work is expanding in Spain. Legal and social protection of vulnerable people generates the need to have social expert reports on different topics (family, gender violence, disability, minors, among others) in order to delve into the social impact and possible damage of the fraudulent situations that people experience. However, in Spain training specialization is not required to carry out this work activity.
The study carried out focuses on analysing how the use and application of social expert reports by judges in Spain has evolved. The methodology was both quantitative descriptive and qualitative, based on the analysis of 118 sentences that included quotes on expert reports from psychosocial teams2010 and 2021.
As a result, the researchers detected the use of social expert reports in sentences mainly related to divorce, separation, annulment, adoption of minors, food and foster care. The mention of the use of social expert reports has an upward trajectory and judges, in general, mention the importance and need to have social expert reports as scientific documents that allow them to assess social circumstances in which the events take place. The non-binding nature of the social expert reports makes them become a support, which guides and facilitates the judge’s interpretation and ruling on the matter seen in the trial.
The paper shows the following conclusions: (1) there is a notable increase in the number of judges who request and use social expert reports. (2) They use it as reference to understand the existing social vulnerability factors around the cases on which they pass sentence.
The results obtained are both a quantitative and qualitative advance for Forensic Social Work in Spain. This, in turn, implies a development of the social work profession and the need to have social workers who have the appropriate training to carry out social expertise.