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We are a group of service users, professionals and services who began a project called Breaking the Boundaries,  a resource and guide for professionals in social care to foster relationship-based practice. 



This website is a resource for any professional who works with clients and service users, including adults, children and families.

Why write it?

We are advocating for relationship-based professional boundaries practice, rather than a practice that is distance-based (i.e., creates barriers to relationships and change). We openly advocate for system change.


We support safe, reflective and professional practice and are not supportive of practitioners working against systems unsupported, or in ways that could cause them or service users harm.

This guide is a testament to the stories that we all hear (and have lived). - that, often, one key relationship in a person's life is enough to make a difference. This difference, could for example in a child be the difference between reaching their full potential or not. 


These relationships are vital and we need to do more to develop structures and guidance that support and nurture these life-changing experiences. This may involve breaking, crossing or bending professional boundaries to ensure that they create the right conditions for growth and change. 


What does this mean?

Professional boundaries are there for the safety and security of service users and professionals. However, there are factors that can increase professionals' use of boundaries that can lead to defensive and distance-based practice rather than relational and effective practice.


The best professional social care practice is relational, yet boundaries (if used ineffectively) can interfere rather than foster those relationships.


This is a collective statement from service users, and professionals, involved in social care that argue that relational-based practice is key to making decisions around professional boundaries that can positively impact people’s lives.


This means softening the edges of practice whilst still ensuring everyone’s safety. 

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“She stepped over boundaries and reached into my world. She reached me in a way no one before had cared to try. It was more than a job to her and I sensed that”
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