Rita Webb, ACSW, DCSW
Social workers are at the forefront in preventing domestic violence and treating
victims of domestic violence. NASW's domestic violence toolkit is an aggregate of work that reflects the Association's commitment for social workers to address domestic violence.
The impact of colonisation on Indigenous peoples has been similar in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, America and New Zealand.
In her book "Trauma Trails: Recreating Songlines," Professor Judy Atkinson describes how the control of Indigenous peoples by the coloniser was facilitated by three main types of power abuse or violence – overt physical violence, covert structural violence, and psychosocial domination.
In the United States, there has been a continued population demographic shift, with an increase of people of color from diverse cultures and ethnic identities. Many of these families who seek social services are poor, immigrants, or survivors of generations of racism and discrimination. For many social workers, this change in demographics can mean increased exposure to the complexities and richness of diverse experiences and needs which are reflected in caseloads, communities, and work places.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (HHS, OMH) recently released the new and improved National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS Standards). The 2013 CLAS Standards are an all-inclusive appraisal of the 2000 CLAS Standards, include a comprehensive review by federal and nonfederal expert partners, and provide a framework to advance health equity. The standards reflect the 13-year evolution in cultural and linguistic competency, the demographic shift of the U.S. population, and address race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and language factors in support of effective health care (HHS, OMH, 2013b).
In 2001, NASW published the NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice, a widely used resource by practicing social workers in their work with increasingly diverse ethnic and racial client populations. The standards clarify that cultural competence not only addresses the traditional areas of race and ethnicity, but also includes socioeconomic and cultural differences of class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and religious beliefs. To complement these standards, in 2007, NASW published Indicators for the Achievement of the NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice. This document provides additional guidance and interpretation for the sustainability, advancement, and implementation of culturally competent social work practice in organizations, agencies, and the communities.
Violence and abuse have profound costs for all communities. For communities of color, the preponderance of violence can be linked to a host of outcomes that have both immediate and long term implications. Though domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is not limited to any one socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, or religious group, the burden of exposure for racial minorities to domestic violence is reported to be significantly high. The findings indicate that minority women experience higher rates of domestic violence then their white counterparts.