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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2012): Social care - overseas

Across the divide: using research to enhance collaboration between mental health and domestic violence services

L. Laing, J. Irwin and C. Toivonen

Australian Social Work, vol.65, 2012, p. 120-135

Compared to non-abused women, domestic violence victims have higher rates of mental ill health. Given the complex links between domestic violence and mental illness, neither domestic violence nor mental health services alone can provide an adequate response. Yet the different histories, knowledge bases, and organisational cultures of the domestic violence and mental health sectors in Australia present formidable challenges to the development of effective collaborative work. This article uses data gathered from participants in an action research project in Sydney to identify the factors that enabled enhanced collaboration between domestic violence and health services. The findings on the factors that enhanced collaboration are consistent with the literature on the importance of commitment, developing a shared sense of purpose, building relationships that promote trust, inclusive leadership and developing 'institutional empathy'.

The work sites as ground of contest: professionalization of social work in China

T.T.F. Leung

British Journal of Social Work, vol.42, 2012, p. 335-352

In 2006 the Chinese government announced its intention to build a professional social work force that could help realise the vision of a harmonious society. Since then, local governments in different parts of China have encouraged the creation of various types of social worker posts to perform welfare roles that were traditionally fulfilled by government cadres, families and kinship networks. Despite the growing zeal for professionalisation, social workers in China have encountered constant resistance from colleagues and clients in defining their roles and practice boundaries on the ground. Based on a study conducted in Southern China in 2010, this paper discusses the struggle of social workers in Shenzhen and Guangzhou who were attempting to establish their occupational mandate in the quest for professionalization.

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