Sexuality and sexual identity have been relatively marginalized areas in both social work education and practice. However, changes in policy and legislation in the UK and other countries over the past decade have brought discussions of sexuality into the mainstream public service agenda. In social work and social care, gay and lesbian citizenship rights have been explicitly recognised. In the fields of adoption and fostering new regulations and guidance have helped improve and develop practice around assessment and intervention. It remains the case, however, that sex is often perceived as a problem area within social work and social care, discussed only in relation to sexually diverse communities or in the realm of dysfunction or pathology. This collection aims to generate a more proactive and challenging discussion of sexuality and sexual identity in social work. Its starting point is that sexuality is an essential aspect of individual identity, that users must be able to express their sexuality, and that it is essential for social workers to be able to respond and discuss sexual issues appropriately. The contributions are informed by feminist research, considering, in particular, the experiences of women working in and using social care services since the 1990s. In addition to a consideration of the wider policy, legislative and service providers' perspectives, the book includes reflective accounts as well as research-led contributions, offering a comprehensive and balanced account of this important field, which aims to inform both theory and practice.
Dr Priscilla Dunk-West is a sociologist and social worker. She has held a number of academic appointments in England and Australia. The nexus between social work and sociology is a continued source of interest and her research involves understanding the sexual self, selfhood and identity in late modernity. She is currently senior lecturer in social work at the University of South Australia. Trish Hafford-Letchfield is a senior lecturer and teaching fellow in interprofessional learning at Middlesex University UK. Trish has published extensively in the field of management and organisational development. Her last book was Strategy and Business Planning in Social Care (2010) published by Jessica Kingsley. She has a particular interest in researching issues around teaching and learning in relation to sexualities and completed a Doctorate which examined the lifelong learning of older people using social care.
'An ambitious project successfully realised, Sexual Identities and Sexuality in Social Work is theoretically rich, practice relevant and in the tradition of a social work that pushes boundaries and taken for granted understandings.' Fiona Verity, Flinders University, Australia 'This book examines the pleasures and perils of social and personal categories concerned with sexuality, gender and race. It offers a detailed and grounded consideration of social work theory and research related to questions of sexuality across a range of practice fields, and is a welcome addition to the literature.' Stephen Hicks, University of Salford , UK