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K271 Social work law: Poverty - and Child Welfare Interventions

Article: Social work, poverty, and child welfare interventions

Read the article and summarize the below points.
1. Select and explain key aspects which have some complexity and depth and are well-established within emancipatory practice approaches

Demonstrate understanding of the issues which are central to emancipatory issues linked to Social Work and associated practice
Make and justify decisions about specified/predictable information, literature and situations.

2. Identify the potential influence of the ethical/legal issues within Social Work practice and links to anti-oppressive, anti-discrtiminatory and anti-racist practice

Demonstrate confident engagment in relevant personal and professional communities highlighting issues regarding emancipatory practice

3. Explain in detail the meaning of poverty and how this impacts on marginalised groups. Pick one of the following areas to focus on: mental health, disability, working with refugees, asylum seekers and substance misuse issues.

Having watched the three parts to Three girls offer a commentary on the existence and influence of dilemmas/conflicts and how did this inform the assessment and management of risk. In addition offer a reflection of where the failings were in the Multi disciplinary approach

What has this Module highlighted about the areas of social work practice that you need to develop, and importantly what will you do now to prepare you for your placement. 


1. Social work and emancipation

Social work and emancipation go hand in hand. To emancipate means deliberating people from shackles of history, political, culture and masculine domination. In so doing individuals free themselves from social constraints. There are able to develop moral courage to fight against the violation of human rights, social injustices and develop better beliefs about themselves (Barton, 2005).  The paper shows the conflicted relationship social work has with the empowerment theory, self-determination politics of liberation and underscoring an ongoing identity crisis which has been addressed by various scholars. Poverty, sexual abuse and disability are major issues which need to be addressed when fighting against violation of human rights.

Anti-oppressive practice (AOP)

Anti-oppressive practice (AOP) is one of the approaches used to curb the problem of social economic oppression. It is used by practitioners to determine the power imbalances in our society in order to create a society free from oppression, racism and other forms of discrimination in society. They achieve this by engaging at the political and legal level.  Generally, the community has the responsibility to respond to the oppression of different marginalized groups and individuals.  This practice aims at reducing the oppressive behaviors by some of the community members. For instance, some are aware and deliberately cause discrimination to other members of the society (Healy, 2014). Oppression can be defined as the act where a group of people in society are viewed to be superior to others and treats the inferior group with imbalanced care.

In social work, anti-oppressive practice aims at promoting equal and non-oppressive practices among the members of the society. However, there are three barriers to this approach. These include cultural, personal and structural barriers.  Cultural barriers include racism and ethnicity. For instance, the white is generally viewed as a superior race as compared with the blacks. Personal barriers occur for example when the male gender is seen as the superior gender.  Focusing on the structural factors that limit this approach, we can see the political power that regulates ethnic and cultural diversity. Social work solutions to these problems may include coming up with policies that address such issues of oppression (Healy, 2014). AOP social work aims at a better emancipatory form of practice by enabling indi

viduals to perpetuate inequalities by the promotion of choices. This can also be done by promoting increased respect for other people worth, the inherent dignity and social justice.

Emancipatory Social Work Education and Practice

Community empowerment is another practice that can be used to emancipatory social work. Here all members of the society are trained and educated on their rights. They are able to embrace each other’s beliefs, culture or any other difference between them. This helps individuals to have a sense of belonging and feel they are in the right place.  Research shows that empowerment, collaboration, dialogue, validation and balancing of power have a great role in emancipatory practices. When people are empowered through consciousness raising, results in the feeling of high self-esteem, control, and efficacy. This enables people to accept or reject given elements, rethink and take necessary actions towards change. This shows that development does not solely depend on macro-level intervention (Alston, 2003). Members of the society are encouraged to challenge discourses on culture, religion, race, nationality, class, disability and sexual orientation. This ensures there is a good relationship among the members of the community regardless of their differences. This contributes to a feeling of hope, a sense of pride and ownership.

Equality of oppression and anti-discriminatory model in social work

In the world today, cases of social inequalities and oppression is a concern that most scholars are focusing on. Civil rights aim at uncovering the intense of racism through bureaucratically procedures in political, economic and social institutions. Political and social movement is formed to address racism and social work in general. Equality of oppression paradigm is created with aim of addressing inequalities issues in the society. Inequality as a form of human oppression leads to subjugation and stigmatization. This paradigm aims at shaping the character of social work programs. In Britain, the anti-racist approach to social work was initiated in the 1980’s. This was a response to over discrimination, inequalities, injustice and racism concerns in services provision among professionals (Manley, 2003). This resulted in anti-racist perspectives which were integrated into social work programs. Although the equality of anti-discriminatory framework and oppression paradigm are significant emancipatory approaches, they are barriers in their abilities to determine racism in social work education (Miley, 2001).

Childhood Sexual Abuse

In history, cases of young adults who experience childhood sexual abuse are very rampant. Traditional approaches focused on dealing with individuals in order to overcome obstacles and solve problems which they encounter. People who have experienced these traumas have challenges such as self-denigrating believes and self-blame. This may lead to self-damaging behaviors such as substance abuse, suicide attempts, eating disorders and self-mutilation. They also encounter inter-personal problems such as relationship discords, isolation, and insecurity. They may also experience heartbroken and damaged hindering them from being productive in the society (Oliver, 2012). These victims are given guidance and counseling in order to help them to regain self-esteem. There is a need for a public awareness campaign where the general public can be taught how to deal and report cases of child sexual abuse. The social workers should carry out their duties well of protecting those who are vulnerable to child sexual abuse. The policymakers have the obligation of setting laws and guidelines concerning sexual abuse.

Legal/Ethical Issues

Just like other disciplines, social workers face various legal and ethical issues when undertaking their work. They make difficult decisions concerning treatment issues, developing of conflicts awareness and maintaining professional’s boundaries. National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics entails legal procedures that guide the social workers in line with their professional’s clients and society.

To start with social workers should always be committed to their clients (Boud, 2001). However, they face various legal and ethical challenges which include; professional boundaries, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest. They are not supposed to share confidential information about a client unless with a written consent from the client. They have the responsibility of protecting the rights of their clients. For instance, in the video of the three girls, the social workers failed to protect the rights of the girls who reported sexual abuse cases to them.

They may also face ethical and legal issues when relating with other professionals. According to NASW code of ethics, they have ethical legal responsibilities to handle their fellow professional with respect, cooperate in solving ethical disputes, avoiding a sexual relationship with their seniors or juniors, consult one another and report unethical behaviors of their colleagues to the relevant authorities.

To the general public, they have a duty to promote public welfare, social justice, and take part in activities that fight against discrimination and inequality (Hirschheim, 2004). For example, at the end of the three girls video, we find the social workers taking an initiative of making awareness and educating people on issues regarding sexual abuse. This shows that they have a legal obligation of fighting against social oppression in the society.

Generally, we find that cases of discrimination, racism among other forms of oppression are rampant in our society. Different states have formulated ethical and legal guidelines to fight against social work oppression. However, there are still cases of oppression. This calls for each and every member of the society to join hands to eliminate this vice. The policies formulators should come up with clear guidelines regarding this.

2. Poverty

Poverty reduction has become a major international concern. Poverty is not only rampant in developing countries but also in developed countries. It can be described as not having enough money to cater for daily basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. One can be said to be poor if he cannot afford to access healthcare when sick or accessing clean water (Foster, 2013). However, there are no international consensus measures/ guidelines for measuring poverty. In economics, income poverty can be said to be when the income of a certain family fails to meet a federally established threshold which differs from one country to another. This is measured on basis of a family and not individuals which are then adjusted to the total number of people living in that family (Sen, 2012). It identifies families that live below a certain minimum acceptance level of income. Just like in international standards of extreme poverty, these are families earning less than 1$ in a day.

In most cases, poverty can be either categorized as relative poverty or absolute poverty. Absolute poverty is based on the minimum amount of money required for catering for basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. It is not concerned with the overall quality of life issues or inequality levels in society. It, therefore, assumes the fact that every individual has important cultural and social needs. Relative poverty defines poor people in comparison with other individuals in society. It urges that one is poor if he/she falls below a certain prevailing standard of living within a given society. Just like absolute poverty, it is concerned with the consumption and income of individuals (Sen, 2002). Social exclusion leads to another measure of poverty referred to an income perspective. It states that an individual is regarded as poor if he/she generates an income that is below his country’s poverty line. Unemployment perspective states that poverty shows lack of enough basic capacity to function.

In contrast, social scientists have a different idea of understanding poverty. Unlike economics who believe individuals control their destiny and cause of poverty, social scientists are interested in the cause of poverty. They argue that some factors such as the roles of power, culture, social structure among others are out of individuals control. Social aspects such as poor healthcare and poor housing need to be addressed in order to alleviate poverty. Moreover, poverty is considered to greatly undermine economic, social, cultural, and political human rights. Some unfortunate groups in society are in most cases affected by this monster of poverty (Katz, 2009). In UK, the government is recently measuring poverty by considering an individual’s income as compared to the rest of the country. It compares the earlier and the present salaries to determine change over time. This paper focuses on the impact of poverty on generalized disadvantaged people in our society, the disabled in particular.

Poverty and disability are closely linked and have a great impact on the society and its development. Although not all disabled people are poor, disability is an important issue that needs to be addressed when fighting against poverty. Research shows that individuals with disabilities in the UK are more likely to be poor as compared to their peers who do not have any form of disability. This may be in terms of access to employment, civic involvement, social support, income or even food poverty. Disability causes poverty and also its a consequence of poverty (Braithwaite, 2009).  This is because there are so many barriers that face the disabled in the society resulting in social exclusion and lack of participation in the society.

Disabled people have less access to education as compared to people who are not disabled. When we focus on the disabled in our school environment, we find they face a lot of challenges. Pupils with disabilities tend to perform much lower than their peers who are not disabled. Reports proved that 18 percent of the disabled individuals in the UK live in food poverty as compared to their non-disabled counter-partners. Only 7.5 percent of the non-disabled struggle to pay for food. Research shows that the disabled face a lot of challenges while finding adequate housing. This is as a result of a shortage of accessible housing across the UK. For instance, in Scotland, the number of wheelchairs adapted local authority housing for individuals who are physically disabled are decreasing (Mitra, 2013

Many are times when an employer checks on the health conditions of an individual before recruiting them. Some claim that the disabled cannot carry out some task and therefore not fit for some jobs. For example, if the employer is looking for someone to work at the customer care desk, and a person who has a disability in hearing apply for the job, he or she may be disqualified due to his/her disability. Others are generally discriminated in their place of work. Some companies do not consider the disabled when putting up infrastructure. This may also highly affect the disabled (Loeb, 2008). They may lead to poor working conditions and fewer chances to get employment. This may as well contribute to fewer earnings.

Generally, the disabled need a higher income than their peers who are not disabled to cater to their needs. Some of their earning are used to acquire assistant devices such as a wheelchair. Their medical care expenses are relatively higher as compared to a normal person. Poor disabled are less likely to get themselves out of poverty due to the various barriers that face them such as lack of employment (Groce,2011).

The poor who are disabled may face social challenges such as discrimination, isolation or even marginalization. Some people view the disabled as a burden which they would not wish to be associated with. The poor who are disabled is not given the privilege to take part in some social, or political processes in the society. This makes them continue lagging behind. It’s not also a way of fighting against poverty. In fact, it makes them continue being poorer (Palmer, 2011).

However, the disabled deserve to be treated well in society. They are entitled to the same opportunities, rights, and respect just like any other citizen. The law and policymakers should focus on the needs of the disabled in order to create a fair society where there are equal opportunities for the citizens. The government as well is taking bold measures to fight against poverty in UK.

3. The three girls

The video of the three girls shows how young girls are sexually abused. In the video, we find three girls Amber Bowen (Ria Zmitrowicz) who was sixteen-year-old, her younger sister Ruby (Liv Hill), and their friend Molly Windsor Holly who was only fifteen years.  The three girls are enticed with money, free drinks, and food in return of sex. “Daddy” among others, threatens them not to report the issue to the police or any relevant authority. This makes the girls confused and are left in a dilemma whether to share or not. When Holly’s tries to approach and report, the police fails to investigate the allegations claiming that there was not enough evidence that she was sexually abused. They claim that the victims cannot act as a reliable witness since they are not aware whether the victim had sexual affairs with the accused (BBC, 2018).  

The abusers claim that the white introduces their children to sex and alcohol and so they are to be blamed for the same. When they are taken to the police and accused of sexual abuse, they are released and no action is taken thereafter. This portrays that those in authority are not protecting the rights of the abused. They are also seen to be unfriendly to victims of sexual abuse. This makes them shy away from sharing their experiences. When Sara Robotham a child warfare worker tries to blow whistles about sex abuse, her efforts take long before the victims are understood and action taken.

Holly is seen to have a hard time with her family. We find out that she severally disagrees with her mother. Later her father also notices her ill behaviors and start to confront her. The conflict continues until when Sara who knew and understood Holly’s story decided to reveal to her family what has been happening. However, the situation becomes worse when Sara shares the story with a colleague and request him to accompany her to Holly’s home (BBC, 2018). He alive before Sara and reveals to the parents that their daughter was a prostitute. Her parents would not believe this.  Sara later comes and explains to her parents what was happening. This makes the girl-shy away and isolates herself from society.  We also find Ruby and Holly getting unplanned pregnancies.

These incidences make the victims of sexual abuse continue being beaten raped and not believed. the police failure to listen and to take action against the suspects continues to give the abusers a better chance. The childcare service fails to protect the abused since they don’t follow cases reported to them seriously. Back at home, the girls are not believed by their parents when they explain what they have been undergoing. The video is an illustration of how young girls are being exploited in society (BBC, 2018). When eventually the media gets aware of the story, the police are blamed for their ignorance and negligent. The police undertake investigations and the suspects found guilty were imprisoned.

Generally, we find the various social work practices that need to be addressed by all stakeholders. One being sexual abuse as shown in the three girls video. All stakeholders should ensure they do their work as expected to protect the right of others. The video acts as an eye opener to the evils happening in our society. In the video, we also find racism aspects. This is when the Asians men are all termed as rapists. We also find that the suspects were men from the middle east yet they were said to be Asian. This portrays racism in society (Russell, 2004). It’s necessary for the relevant authority to hold campaigns to enlighten people on social oppression. They should advise them on how to respond to social crime. Policymakers should come up with measures and regulations for assessing these risks and ways of mitigating them (Browne, 2016).          

In conclusions, we find that in the society, there are various social evils such as discrimination, racism, sexual oppression among others (Summit, 2013). This calls for all stakeholders to fight against these oppressions in order to have a well-united society free from social evils. 


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