Family violence and social work

By: Fiona Tyler

In New Zealand, 1 in 3 women[1] have experienced family violence, and similar numbers are reflected in countries around the world. Social work in this field takes place both on the micro level, to address the immediate threats that affect their clients, as well as on the macro level to try and combat the systemic, root causes of family violence. All aspects of work in this field are guided by principles of human rights, social justice, equality and social change with a focus on self determination, empowerment and improving the self worth of their clients. Continue reading

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Let’s work together: Older people’s mental health multidisciplinary teams

By PureArrow

Every day we’re getting older, wiser, and more knowledgeable and … closer to being able to avoid mental health difficulties. Right?

Wrong!  Unfortunately as we age (and yes globally this population is growing rapidly) the risk of having ill mental health does not go away.  The most common mental health illnesses, for the older population, are dementia and depression.  However, with appropriate and timely support, older people and their families can be provided with an improvement to their quality of life. (CommunityCare, 2007). Continue reading

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Maternity social work: When one becomes two

By A. Rand

The recently announced reforms issued by the newly formed Ministry of Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki (MVCOT) indicates a strong focus of care that will consist of a child-centred approach, in which the needs of children would be considered of paramount priority. The premise of such an approach is without question a worthy consideration, given that the needs of vulnerable children should be of the highest consideration when determining where limited state resources should be allocated and to who.   Continue reading

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Getting personal with poverty

By Genii Law

I am now close to the fourth quarter of my journey towards a social work qualification.  As I reflect upon the motivations that have brought me this far, I recall having conversations about why I wanted to get into this profession.  However, the exact reasons I gave to people temporarily elude me. Continue reading

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Social work: Putting out fires for those who “deserve” it

By Lauren Bartley

The centuries-old distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor that dictated who was deserving of charity and social assistance, and who was not, seems to be making a crafty comeback in New Zealand. Developed during the reign of Elizabeth I, the Poor Law differentiated between those who were poor as a result of circumstances beyond their control, and those who were poor due to laziness, idleness or immorality. Though arguably not as explicit, New Zealand social policy, social work practice, and the media are doing an exemplary job at creating that same distinction of the deserving and undeserving poor, by separating the notions of child poverty and adult poverty. This apparent disconnect allows policymakers and those who implement it to aspire to lift children out of poverty without publicly recognising that to do so will require addressing the poverty of the adults with whom those children live.  Continue reading

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The role of social work in New Zealand’s suicide prevention

By Jamie Blundell

 The problem

Suicide is a growing international public health concern. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 800,000 deaths per year are due to suicide globally (WHO, 2014 ), a rate which is still increasing. In New Zealand, there are approximately 500 suicide-related deaths per year (Ministry of Health, 2015). The youth suicide rate in New Zealand is one of the highest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, which is the second leading cause of death among young people in New Zealand today (Ministry of Health, 2015). Continue reading

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Increasing Trauma-Informed Care in Youth Justice

By Jane Doe

The Youth Justice system in New Zealand is a restorative process which diverts young people from the punitive outcome of conventional criminal justice proceedings. Family group conferences address offending, bringing together young people, whanau, victims and other professionals to develop a plan which reintegrates young people into the community and provides wrap-around support (Youth Court of New Zealand, 2016). This plan requires participation of the young person and includes services such as counselling, alcohol or drug rehabilitation and mental health services. The role of the youth justice social worker in this process is to work alongside the young person, whanau and other professionals to monitor the plan, upholding the principles of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act (1989). Continue reading

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Take a walk in the field of mental health

By Anonymous

The practice of social work in the field of mental health is one which continues to fight to enhance the wellbeing of those living with a mental illness. Mental health disorders have been ranked as one of the main contributing factors towards the decrease of people’s health and wellbeing in New Zealand. Oakley-Browne, Wells, and Scott (2006) suggest that mental disorders are common in New Zealand predicting that 46.6% of the population will experience some form of mental illness in their lives. With the numbers disturbingly increasing every year, social workers have a vital position in the future of mental health services. Continue reading

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I am not Indigenous

by Pākehā

A significant matter of concern to social work practice internationally, is work with indigenous populations. I am Palagi, Pākehā, Tauiwi and am a social work student soon to begin practice in Aotearoa with clients including Tangata Whenua. Continue reading

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