Skip to main content

NIASW report - April 2014


NIASW continues to develop its relationship with the Irish Association of Social Work (IASW). The Mental Health Conference, a joint venture between IASW and NIASW that has taken place for many years, will be on 11 April in Dublin. Further details about this can be found on BASW’s website. We are also pleased to announce we will be holding an all-Ireland Social Work Conference on 24 September in Dublin. This conference will be open to all social workers and will focus on reclaiming professional social work practice. We are in the process of finalising details so look out for further information.

Dr Gavin Davidson has been representing NIASW on the group developing the draft Mental Capacity Bill, the legislation has been developed over the past few years and will herald significant changes for service users and the professionals who use it. The draft bill is now open for public consultation and NIASW are holding two seminars on this. The first takes place from 11am to 1pm at the University of Ulster Magee on 27 May; the second will be on 29 May between 11am and 1pm at Queens University Belfast.

To book places please contact Amanda Beattie at or phone 02890 648873.

NIASW have been made aware of troubling statistics that reveal the level of assaults on social workers by service users in one health and social care trust. The number of assaults is in excess of 600 over two years. This is shocking and we have asked the executive directors of social work at the four other trusts for similar information from them. We are particularly interested in the support available to staff who have been attacked and what action is taken in relation to ‘zero tolerance policies’. We are also trying to capture similar information from across the voluntary sector.

If you have been a victim of assault at work we would encourage you to report the attack via your own organisation to ensure that it is logged and support is provided. As social workers, we should not expect to put up with verbal abuse and should never tolerate physical attacks. If you have been abused at work and have not been able to get appropriate support, please contact us on 02890 648873 and we can help via our advice and representation service.

Anne McAllister attended the voluntary sector celebration of World Social Work Day on the 12 March where a panel of service users shared their experiences of social work services across the statutory and voluntary sectors. Despite their different ages, backgrounds and difficulties, they had one common message – building a relationship with their social worker was key to their success. In other words, more time for social work, less time on paper work!