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When child protection caseworkers make first contact with the parents of a child (or children) who is suspected of being at ‘significant risk of harm’ they may encounter a range of hostile, angry and aggressive verbal responses from parents. If this contact results in a child being removed from parental care, it is not unknown for these responses to escalate into attempts at verbal intimidation and loud threats of personal violence. These behaviours then get recorded in case files and in materials submitted to the Children's Court to support the case for permanent removal of a child from parental care; these behaviours being presented as evidence of the parents’ unsuitability and unwillingness to comply with demands for changes in their child rearing practices. But how should child protection caseworkers view these less-than-helpful parental responses, and how should they, in turn, respond? This article explores this issue and offers a number of ways of understanding these behaviours, and canvasses new ways for caseworkers to respond when these behaviours occur.

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Journal Article

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