This book is aimed at employers, managers and staff in social work agencies. Historically there has been a slowness to acknowledge the risks which social workers routinely face and some employers have adopted a re-active approach, waiting for incidents to occur before taking action. They are thus placed in the position of having to make policy 'on the hoof' and at a time of crisis. Support to staff who have been attacked has been patchy, and in some instances sadly lacking. The absence of agreed procedures for dealing with violent attacks can leave the staff concerned, feeling unsupported, anxious and stressed. Social work staff, in their turn, may have experienced feelings of guilt when they have been unable to prevent aggression or assault; at best they may lack confidence in the level of understanding and support their line managers will show, and at worst they may feel that they will be blamed for the incident. As a result there is a tendency towards under reporting violent acts. For these reasons a joint approach to the problem is urged which involves social workers, support staff and managers. Personal Safety for Social Workers examines the special issues which social workers, and their employers, need to address. Part 1 reviews some of the information now available about violence in social work settings and within the context of violence in society at large. The respective roles and responsibilities of employers and employees are discussed, and guidance offered on developing a workplace personal safety policy and on the steps which will need to be taken for effective implementation. Advice is given on developing procedures for reporting violent incidents and for providing after-care to staff who have been on the receiving end of violence. This section of the book also looks at the ways in which the design and management of the workplace can enhance personal safety and provides guidelines to social workers on the issues to consider when working away from the normal work base. Part 2 contains detailed personal safety guidelines for use by individual social workers in a variety of work situations. Part 3 addresses training issues and provides a number of sample training programmes. A Reference Section gives information about further reading, training materials and sources of further help, advice and information. The message of this book is that proper attention to risk can reduce both the incidence of aggression and its development into violent acts. Preventive action can have the dual effect of protecting staff, and also of providing quality services in a more sensitive way to social work clients.
’There is a profusion of good advice, with checklists frequently used. Readers will gain a good overall grasp of the issues involved in this increasingly important field, and an expanded set of ideas on how to keep themselves safe.’ Professional Social Work
Contents: Background: Violence at work; The risks in perspective; Violence against social workers; Defining violence and aggression; Employer and employee roles; Safety in the social work setting; Developing a policy; Implementing a policy; Reporting violent incidents; The workplace; Residential and day care settings; Away from the workplace; After-care. Guidelines for Social Workers: Interviewing techniques; Non-verbal communication; Coping with violence; Developing assertiveness; Travel guidelines. Training for Safety: Guidelines for trainers; Select bibliography; Useful organizations; Index.