NASW Statement on Newtown Tragedy

WASHINGTON, DC (December 17, 2012)

The National Association of Social Workers sends its deepest condolences to the Newtown community and the families who lost a loved one in the December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  NASW has extended its support to the school employees, first responders, and other leaders who have been helping the community to manage this tragic event.  Social workers in Connecticut are ready to assist survivors as they begin to cope with the aftermath of the shooting, and enter a longer healing process.

Professional social workers know the tremendous emotional toll of such an event, and were among the first clinicians to provide trauma care and counseling in Newtown this past weekend. The greatest need, however, is still ahead of us and NASW is calling on its membership to provide guidance and support in the affected community, and all communities, who are grappling with the enormous impact of such a senseless tragedy.

NASW is listed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) as Anti-Gun National Organization

Grief and Loss Resources /

The social work profession is also committed to raising concerns about the proliferation of assault  weapons in our country, and advocating for increased mental health services despite looming budget cuts.    

NASW on School Violence
NASW on Mental Health
NASW on Crime Victims Assistance
NASW on Family Violence
Mental Health Liaison Group Statement and Letter
Assault Weapons Ban Letter of Support
NASW’s Continued Response to Sandy Hook

 News from NASW Connecticut:

Over the past four days, the NASW Connecticut Chapter has reached out to officials of Newtown’s school, town government and police, offering assistance. They have communicated with over 60 social workers looking to help, most from Connecticut, but also from a dozen other states, plus Canada and Australia.

They are working with the mobile crisis response unit through 211 and have been in touch with Danbury Hospital’s crisis coordination team. The Chapter also put together a list of potential respondents and has asked members who want to help to call 211 to register with the mobile crisis unit.  If you are qualified to engage in practice related to trauma or grief, please consider registering with 211, and letting the NASW Connecticut Chapter know that you have done so.  The Chapter will be coordinating a free continuing education workshop to help social workers assist in the long-term healing process in Newtown.

"Words are insufficient in the face of such tragedies.  Our task as mental health and criminal justice professionals is to thoughtfully examine the circumstances surrounding this horrific event, seek to understand what factors led to the shootings, and engage in constructive dialogue about how to minimize the likelihood of such unspeakable violence in the future."

Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D.
School of Social Work
Rhode Island College
National Association of Social Workers, 750 First Street, NE • Suite 800, Washington, DC 20002
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