The Story of Erica and Her Family

Background story of Erica and her family: this will help you to understand Erica’s case.

Erica (age 30 years) has contacted a local community centre. Erica says she lives with her partner James (Jim) and two children Jemima (13) and Isaac (4). Jim works full time in the building industry and the family relocated from interstate 8 months ago so he could take up a better paid job on the recommendation of a friend who was already living here. All of their extended family are back in their home town.

A couple of months ago, Jim was charged by the police for driving under the influence of alcohol and now his driver’s license has been suspended for 12 months following a court appearance. Erica said she has found out Jim has been having problems at work. They can’t afford for him to lose his job and he has been spending a lot of the family budget going out and drinking with friends on the weekends. Erica has a background working in retail and administration, but hasn’t been working for some time as she wanted to settle the kids in after the move and now Jemima has just changed schools again and Isaac has started pre-school.

She has noticed Jim is often frustrated with the kids and things are tense at home. Erica said she didn’t really want to tell anyone about their problems, but she spoke to her neighbour about what has been happening when they noticed she looked down and said they had heard her arguing again with Jim last night. They gave her the name of the Centre and said they had used this service when they needed help and found it useful. 

Erica makes a visit to a social worker in regard to the problems that are facing her family, she says that there are arguments between her and her husband Jim as well as arguments ensues between Jim and their daughter Jemima. She says that apparently, Jim happens to be easily irritated the moment she feels to have a discussion with him. She adds that she found out Jim has been spending a lot of the family budget money going out to drink with friends an issue that has largely contributed to the misunderstandings. However, Erica confesses that she wasn’t very honest with the social worker in regards to the whole problem. She states that she didn’t want to talk about how things were at her past relationships and how bad currently things can get out of hand. Based on how she found the social worker helpful, she is planning on visiting her again and opening up about everything with the hope that the response she gets will be more helpful.

Question: Case Study continued- Learning more about Jemima and Isaac

Read the following and answer:

You have now seen Erica on 3 occasions. She tells you her cultural background is Aboriginal. She begins to open up about the problems in her relationship with Jim, and her worries about the impact of this on her children. Erica explains that Jemima is from a previous relationship and that her previous partner was very violent towards her so she left him when Jemima was around 3 years of age and they have not had contact with him at all in the past six years. Erica is worried because she can see signs that Jim is becoming increasingly angry and frustrated with her.

Erica describes Jemima as a sensitive child. Erica also tells you that Jim is very harsh on Jemima, yelling at her often, sending her to her room and seems to favour Isaac. Erica has spoken to Jim about this but he always responds by telling her she is ‘crazy’ and that Jemima needs to ‘grow up’. Erica tells you that Jemima has recently become very withdrawn.


Respond to the following questions: 

  • How could you use attachment theory and trauma informed practice to understand Jemima’s circumstances in this case? (Define attachment theory and trauma informed practice and how this will help you understand Jemima’s circumstances in this case – 300 words)
  • Would there be any need for risk assessment in this situation? Why or why not? (Critically Examining the Process of Risk Assessment in this situation-300 words)
  • What specialist skills and knowledge would you need to work directly with Jemima? (200 words)

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