1st Edition

Promoting Non-Violence Social Work Conversations about Violence

By Gerry Heery Copyright 2019
    182 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    182 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The use of violence within relationships, families or communities is a major public health issue across the world. As such, it will continue to require global, strategic and preventative measures across educational, social care and criminal justice systems. This book draws on the author’s gritty practice experience, social work values, knowledge and research to provide detailed guidance on how to best respond directly to those who carry out this common violence.

    Eight face-to-face conversations between a social worker and the person using violence are depicted and used to present the necessary elements for a dialogue which continually seeks to promote non-violence. These conversations pick up on some key messages from the successful Northern Ireland Peace Process and are firmly rooted in social work practice. They will also contribute to the difficult risk decisions that always need to be taken when violence is being used. The reader is offered choice and discretion as to how these conversations can be used by social workers, from short opportunity-led interactions to a lengthier, more structured interventions – promoting non-violence.

    Offering a positive response to the challenge of ‘common’ violence in a clear and accessible manner, this book should be considered essential reading for students, researchers and practitioners. The author's royalties will be donated to a third world charity project working with victims of domestic violence.

    Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part 1: Engaging with Violence; Chapter 1. Encounters with Violence; Chapter 2. Understanding Violence; Chapter 3. Social Work and Violence; Chapter 4. Risk and Violence; Part 2: Promoting Non-Violence : The 8 Conversations; Chapter 5. Dialogue and the Conversations; Chapter 6. Conversation 1: The ‘Why’ Question; Chapter 7. Conversation 2: What is there to talk about?; Chapter 8. Conversation 3: My Story and Violence?; Chapter 9. Conversation 4: The Harm I have Caused; Chapter 10. Conversation 5: Punching holes in my thinking towards non-violence; Chapter 11. Conversation 6: Dealing with feeling and non-violence; Chapter 12. Conversation 7 Conflict, power and non-violence; Chapter 13. Conversation 8: Keep on keeping on towards non-violence; Conclusion; Appendices; i. Resource Sheets; ii. Guidance on Engaging with victims/survivors; iii. Contact details; Index


    Gerry Heery is a registered Independent Social Worker, Trainer and Consultant. He began his career as a residential social worker in 1978 and has continued to work with people across the family and childcare and criminal justice systems in Belfast and Northern Ireland. Much of his practice has been with those whose use of violence is causing harm and distress within relationships, families and communities. He has contributed to, developed and published a range of interventions aimed at helping those who have been using such violence to desist. He lives in Belfast with his wife Máire, and has five children and two grandchildren.

    'This book stands high in my list of best social work books. Rooted in the author's own life and work in Northern Ireland, the book has humanity and authenticity. The frequent Examples ground Heery's work in fascinating detail, revealing the messy reality of practice through a series of Conversations. The book is a powerful exposition of the complex dynamic of the personal, the professional and the political in the context of communal and common violence. I strongly recommend it.' - Mark Doel, Emeritus Professor, Sheffield Hallam University

    'When reading this book you will feel like you are having a conversation with Gerry Heery and you will learn so much from his compassion, humility, and wisdom derived from many years of working with people who have been violent.' - Tim Chapman, Visiting lecturer, Ulster University

    'Social workers and other helping professionals often work with both the victims and perpetrators of violence – often at the same time. In this illuminating book Gerry Heery has brought his wealth of practice experience to doing what many other books fail to do – setting out how to engage and work with those who are violent towards others in their everyday relationships. Underpinned by sound academic scholarship, this is a well-written and helpful resource, and both new and experienced practitioners will find it an invaluable aid.' - John Devaney, PhD, Centenary Professor of Social Work, University of Edinburgh