Social workers need help to fight attacks

The British Association of Social Workers in Scotland is calling
for a strategy to help social workers deal with violent

Ruth Stark, BASW professional officer in Scotland, said a strategy
was needed because social services management still refused to
recognise the issues surrounding subtler forms of intimidation,
such as stalking.

She was speaking at the Becoming Safer conference in Fife last

According to freelance staff counsellor and trainer Ray
Braithwaite, incidents are under-reported which makes it impossible
to form an accurate assessment of the problem.

He said violence can range from the most severe form of physical
assault or abuse to obscene phone calls or just the presence of
someone intimidating. “Emotional damage is just as real as physical
and can take longer to cure,” he added.

He said departments needed to develop positive workplace cultures
since staff safety affected quality of service.

“If the atmosphere is supportive before an attack, the chances are
the person will find ways of coping. But if the support only
appears after the event, he or she will recognise it as false,”
Stark added.

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