US social workers in Kentucky to gain legal protection

Social workers in a US state are to gain improved protection on the job following the passing of new legislation.

Around $6m  has been pledged as part of a social worker safety bill and a commission will be created to study and recommend ways to meet the safety and funding needs of social workers in Kentucky.

The “Boni Frederick Bill,” passed this week, was named after a social worker from Western Kentucky who was fatally beaten and stabbed when she took a baby on a home visit last year.

The legislation sets a requirement of a one-hour turnaround on service user background checks, the creation of a social work safety liaison position and reporting and tracking of threatening behaviour by service users.

In 2005, social work campaigners in Scotland were angered by the Scottish parliament’s refusal to give Scottish social workers the same protection from violence as other emergency staff under the Emergency Workers Act.

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