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CASE Social Exclusion Seminars

Exploring the utility of structural competency in multi-agency responses to exploitation

Dr Rana Khazbak (King's College London), Oana Burcu (University of Nottingham), Dr Alison Gardner (University of Nottingham)

Wednesday 17 May 2023 12:00 - 13:00

This event is both online and in person

SAL 3.05, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH

About this event

This seminar will discuss the emerging concept of `structural competency' as a framework to understand systemic gaps and suggest more effective multi-agency responses to exploitation affecting marginalised communities. It draws upon a case study of multi-agency work across a unitary English local authority, where we interviewed 25 professionals and front-line staff to explore how safeguarding structures, systems and practices function to identify and respond to cases of exploitation affecting local Roma communities. Structural competency was first introduced by Jonathan Metzl and Helena Hansen (2014) as a new approach to the training of medical practitioners that focuses on the structural factors that drive health inequalities. It aims to give professionals the skills to consider how, for example, social, political, economic, legislative and cultural forces produce structures that shape and are shaped by clinical interactions and to intervene to mitigate the effects of these structures. Structural competency redresses some of the critiques of the widely debated `cultural competency' model but is yet to be applied more widely. As we understand modern slavery to be rooted in structural inequalities and oppression, we argue that `structural competency' could be a useful framework to guide research and practice into the prevention and identification of exploitation.

These seminars are held on Wednesdays in term time at 12:00-13:00

Seminars this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @CASE_LSE for updates.

This seminar series is organised by:

Laura Lane, Email:

Dr Abigail McKnight, Email:

For further information and papers, when available, please contact:

The CASE team Email: