Tribute to a committed social worker


Time has not erased the feeling of injustice: Colette Fuseau still feels it four years after the death of her daughter, Marina. On October 28, 2017, this specialized educator was killed by one of the residents of the Cécile et Marie-Anne residence in Poitiers (Vienne), a foster home for young women in difficulty. Deemed to be criminally irresponsible, the resident has never answered for her actions before an assize court. On Monday 23 August, a stele in his memory will be unveiled on the site of the community of Salvert, to which the home is attached. A symbolic gesture “For the recognition of the work of our daughter”, in a symbolic place where “She often went to recharge her batteries, talk with the nuns or go for a walk with the residents”, his mother reports. “We’re trying to move forward. I hope that one day we will be at peace. “

“The day of his death was a market day”, remembers Pierre Boutin, president of the association that manages the residence. That Saturday, Marina Fuseau takes her duty early in the morning, alone. The resident then stabbed him several times. Two days before, this young mother in her twenties had custody of her son withdrawn, an event that triggered her gesture. “Why was Marina alone that day?” “, her mother still wonders. His job, “It was his vocation”. Listening and cheerful, Marina often shared her thoughts with him, never expressing concern or fear, or denying the difficulty of the job. “As a parent, we were afraid yes. Social workers are the last links in the chain, they are the ones who receive the misery and the beatings. ” Two years after the tragedy, when the structure reopened, changes in the organization of space, staff and timetables were reviewed, to prevent such a situation from happening again.

“Resume human tears”, this is how Pierre Boutin sees the work carried out within the home. “It’s an extremely delicate job, which requires defusing situations, and where the worst is never certain. “ Often violence is expressed in words, in threats, “But between the words and the passages to the act, there is a gap”.

Beyond the assassinations of social workers, which no organization identifies, “There is a whole series of aggressive acts of which they can be victims”, believes Marcel Jaeger, president of the National Union of training and research actors in social intervention. In question, the profile of the people supported, “Sometimes carriers of significant mental disorders which can trigger situations of violence”, or the context in which support takes place, social work increasingly becoming a window for access to rights for people in precarious situations. The lack of studies contributes to “The phenomenon is poorly known and underestimated”, considers Marcel Jaeger.

One of the signs of the lack of recognition of these professions which are, by nature, “Shadow trades, which can hardly be exposed without betraying the heart of the act”, notes Emmanuel Gasselin, already involved in the community of Salvert at the time of Marina Fuseau’s death: “It’s an intimate job, the success of which depends in part on the quality of the relationship established with the people supported. ” This Monday, the ceremony represents, for all these actors, a recognition of the profession of Marina Fuseau, which is also that of nearly 1.2 million people. On the stele, his parents chose to engrave a quote from Paul Zumthor, Swiss poet: “The gift is an exchange of life and life is an exchange of gift. “

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