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Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Social Work Association welcomes AGM motion

BASW motion aims to improve the profile of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities within social work context

The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Social Work Association welcomes the passing of Motion 6 at BASW’s AGM yesterday. We would like to offer up our sincerest thanks and gratitude to Worcestershire Branch for bringing the motion below:

‘Attitudes towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have been described as being ‘the last acceptable form of racism’. Communities experience structural oppression, for example in England and Wales the government has fuelled the fire of racism by proposing to criminalise overnight stopping, despite the police not supporting such legislation.

As an anti-racist organisation and champion of human rights, BASW should be leading the way, in co-production with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, in educating social work organisations about best practice within our diverse Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Most qualifying courses give only cursory attention to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues and BASW membership has no contemporary policy/ best practice guidelines or champions in this field.

This Annual General Meeting calls on BASW Council and Executive to take a strategic approach to righting this imbalance in our profile, working together with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to bring about mutual understanding and respect for each other’s cultures’

It is fitting that this Motion is passed during BASW’s 50th year as an Association, when we are marking social work’s legacy and thinking about best hopes for the future. As part of reflecting on this legacy social work and the Association, must undertake some deep soul searching and atone for the role that social work has played in perpetuating stereotypes about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families which has had a devastating impact and further embedded the effects of discrimination within our communities.

 It is not acceptable that social work has barely recognised and only minimally incorporated the human rights of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities into anti-racist discourse and practice.

As a human rights profession which exists to stand alongside those marginalised and oppressed, we have a quite drom (road) ahead.

We are jelling the drom (going down the road) at last.

Jackie Bolton

Doreen Dove

Allison Hulmes

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