Registration 9.30, Conference 10.00am - 4.30pm
Liffey Suite, Ashling Hotel, Parkgate St, Stoneybatter, Dublin 8, D08 K8P5
€30 IASW members/€100 non-members
This year’s conference will bring together a range of speakers on the topic of social justice, to inform and update and to support participants unpack the concept. Participants will be provided with the opportunity to consider what it means for social work practice on a day to day basis, on the individual level, the organisational and the collective. To assist us in this task, we have the support of speakers including Brid Featherstone (Professor of Social Work, University of Huddersfield), John Pinkerton (Professor, School of Social Sciences, Education & Social Work, Queens University Belfast) and Judy Walsh (Head of Subject for Social Justice, School of Social Policy, Social Work & Social Justice, UCD).
The principle of social justice is central to social work and is referred to by a range of key stakeholders who shape social work.
“Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.” (IFSW 2014)
The International Federation of Social Workers have also developed a Global Social Work Statement of Ethical Principles to serve as an overarching framework for social workers to work towards the highest possible standards of professional integrity (July 2018). That states
"Social workers have a responsibility to engage people in achieving social justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to the people with whom they work. This means:
3.1 Challenging Discrimination and Institutional Oppression
Social workers promote social justice in relation to society generally and to the people with whom they work.
Social workers challenge discrimination, which includes but is not limited to age, capacity, civil status, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, nationality (or lack thereof), opinions, other physical characteristics, physical or mental abilities, political beliefs, poverty, race, relationship status, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, spiritual beliefs, or family structure.
3.2 Respect for Diversity
Social workers work toward strengthening inclusive communities that respect the ethnic and cultural diversity of societies, taking account of individual, family, group, and community differences.
3.3 Access to Equitable Resources
Social workers advocate and work toward access and the equitable distribution of resources and wealth.
3.4 Challenging Unjust Policies and Practices
Social workers work to bring to the attention of their employers, policymakers, politicians, and the public situations in which policies and resources are inadequate or in which policies and practices are oppressive, unfair, or harmful. In doing so, social workers must not be penalized.
Social workers must be aware of situations that might threaten their own safety and security, and they must make judicious choices in such circumstances. Social workers are not compelled to act when it would put themselves at risk.
3.5 Building Solidarity
Social workers actively work in communities and with their colleagues, within and outside of the profession, to build networks of solidarity to work toward transformational change and inclusive and responsible societies."
The CORU SWRB Code of Conduct and Ethics for Social Workers (2019) has one section that details “Responsibilities Specific to Social Work”, the promotion of social justice being one of four responsibilities.
27.2 You should:
(a) Promote social justice in your practice, through:
How central is the principle of social justice to your own practice, the practice of the social work department you are part of, your employing organisation, the IASW?
How do we promote social justice in our practice? How do we describe it? What does it look like? What might be the implications then for how we act and speak? How do we articulate what makes the social work profession different to others and how we do social work?