Allison Hulmes (British Association of Social Workers (BASW),
Dr Dan Allen (Liverpool Hope University)
Martin Naughton (The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Social Work Association)
Topic: Identifying and responding to microaggressions in social work practice with Romani and Traveller peoples.
Iterating the urgent need for the development of anti-racist practice with Romani and Traveller families, this discussion develops the conclusions presented by Allen and Riding (2018) in the Fragility of Professional Competence report and further developed by Allen and Hulmes (2021) . Viewing their findings through the lens of aversive racism, we aim to shed some light on a rarely seen paradox in child protection practice. A paradox that exists when child protection practitioners who, by nature of their professional status, publicly sympathise with victims of injustice, support the principle of equality, and regard themselves as non-prejudiced, but who actually possess negative feelings, views, and beliefs about Romani and Traveller communities. Highlighting the impact of aversive racism in the experience of child protection, state care and leaving care services, we introduce a theoretical framework from which child welfare professionals can work to diversify power systems and identify racism as one important step to address the intersecting oppressions that many Romani and Traveller children and families face.