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Webinar: Safeguarding in faith-based communities

Part of BASW UK's Success in Social Work Webinar Series

Contextual safeguarding is increasingly recognised as an approach to understanding how peoples’ ‘internal’ resources can provide resilience and protection against risks in their immediate environment.

Faith-based communities have a vital role to play in safeguarding people within their family networks and their neighbourhoods. Furthermore, religious beliefs are seen as important aspects of peoples’ needs which have to be addressed in social work practice. However, it is also recognised that practitioners can encounter distinct ethical challenges in this area of practice and specific safeguarding risks can also arise in the context of faith-based organisations.

This webinar will provide a reflective space to critically engage with the practice implications of the key findings from the investigations by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which highlight the immense and long-lasting damage caused when abuse is perpetrated by people in ‘positions of trust’ within religious organisations. The webinar will identify good practice in ‘what works’ in safeguarding in and with faith-based communities. The presenters are two experienced social workers working in non-secular faith-based environments. They will share their learning and explore the broader issues around faith, religion and the needs of ‘service users’; and identify the practical social work skills that practitioners need to work anti-oppressively and effectively in this area.

Our presenters

Ioannis Athanasiou is a social worker who has committed most of his practice to addressing inequalities and protecting the rights of children, young people and adults in the intersection of social care, education, and the arts. He is a research associate and Phd Candidate at University of London. Funded by the Centre of Identities and Social Justice in the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths College, he is researching ethics and power dynamics in the work of museums in England with young people on the margins of society. In parallel to his research, in the last years, he has worked in different denominations, including the United Reformed Church and the Church of England, holding child protection and safeguarding adults leading roles at national level. Ioannis is currently employed by the Church of England but will be speaking in a personal capacity in this webinar.

Godfred Boahen is the National Safeguarding Policy and Development Lead at the Church of England and was previously employed by BASW. With a PhD in social work practice, Godfred has written about professionalism and international social work. In this webinar he will be reflecting on his professional experience about faith and social work and will be speaking in a personal capacity and not as an employee of the Church of England.

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