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NO MORE ‘NEEDS’: growing confidence and improving skills around sexuality in social work research, learning and practic PowerPoint Presentation
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NO MORE ‘NEEDS’: growing confidence and improving skills around sexuality in social work research, learning and practic

NO MORE ‘NEEDS’: growing confidence and improving skills around sexuality in social work research, learning and practic

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NO MORE ‘NEEDS’: growing confidence and improving skills around sexuality in social work research, learning and practic

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  1. NO MORE ‘NEEDS’: growing confidence and improving skills around sexuality in social work research, learning and practice Practical Learning: achieving excellence in the human services PEPE conference Edinburgh 2008 Joy Trotter and Trish Hafford-Letchfield University of Teesside - London South Bank University

  2. sexuality in social work familiar concepts • social exclusion & marginalisation • anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practices these imply that social work • embraces equality and diversity • has become ‘culturally competent’ • subscribes to moral and ethical standards which include respect for others, regardless of their sexual orientation however sexuality issues continue to be marginalized or excluded altogether (Leech & Trotter, 2005; Fish, 2006) Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  3. sexuality in research • Despite the 2002 RAE specifically remarking on sexuality as one of a number of new and emerging areas for social work (Shaw & Norton, 2007) it continues to be under-funded and under-researched. • Others have contributed: • education - focussing on schools & sexual bullying and sex education • sociology and social policy - developing understandings & debates around sexuality • economists and demographers - struggled to capture or predict trends relating to sexual diversity within families • health and psychology – mostly AIDS/HIV, STDs and other ‘problems’ • criminology – around sex offenders and child sexual abuse Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  4. sexuality in learning • Despite a number of pioneering texts around a decade ago(Logan et al, 1996; Hicks, 1996; Trotter & Gilchrist, 1996; Trotter, 1998; Brown, 1998; Trotter, 2000a, 2000b; Logan, 2001)very little has been transferred to national learning resources, training policies or general educational materials. • Social Work and Sexuality(Brown, 1998)omitted from BASW’s (Macmillan Press) re-launch of Practical Social Work series in 2006 (12 titles) nor was it included in advertisements for ‘key backlist books’ (10 titles) • Learning Matters – helping social workers to support people in ‘achieving their sexual rights’(Jones & Bywater, 2007, p134) Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  5. sexuality in practice • Common mistakes: • sexuality often confused with sex (behaviour), • sexuality confined to ‘issues’ (problems) and/or • sexuality conflated with sexual (sexiness). • Technicist approaches to assessment and service provision have emerged which seek to identify the particular ‘needs’ of ‘minority’ populations(Jeyasingham, 2008). • These have focussed on non hetero-sexual people, implying • heterosexuals do not have needs • non hetero-sexual people have only ‘needs’ • non-heterosexuals can be regarded as one homogenous population and • there are no overlaps or ‘needs’ that are held in common between the ‘two’ populations. • Its also assumed that once these so-called ‘needs’ are ‘known’, they will somehow be addressed(Hicks, 2005). Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  6. community of practice • Evolving • Opening up a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives • Invite different levels of participation • Develop both public and private community spaces • Focus on values • Create a rhythm for the community Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  7. a case study Symposium: Sexuality issues in social work practice, education and research Began in June 2004 Aims/objectives - To extend and strengthen the knowledge base by: • providing a friendly and safe forum for discussion and dissemination of ideas • sharing and developing ideas; • supporting and sustaining each others’ interests and endeavours; • contributing to and collaborating on research projects and publications. Membership - Social work and allied academics, researchers, practitioners, students and service users with proven &/or active interests in sexuality issues. Activities • share the data-base of contacts • share information, news and ideas • contribute ‘reading lists’, with recommended favourite(s) & accompanying review • regular meetings, seminars and conferences • research projects • collaborative writing Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  8. growing confidence • Growing membership • Developing identity • Evolving leadership • Ongoing learning through: • mutual engagement & joint enterprise • sharing - • personal, educational & professional histories • life experiences • giving meaning to practice • participation Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  9. improving skills • Virtual and real support network • Developing expertise • Campaigning / lobbying • Publishing • Workshops / conferences • Research projects • Seminar series Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  10. Exciting futures • Early days – fluid and informal network • Recognising differences? • Including and collaborating? • Direction & future? • SIG or Symposium? • Shifting the focus by • pursuing clarity about values • widening participation & perspective • meanings/understandings emerging -no more ‘needs’ Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield

  11. References Brown, H. C. (1998) Social Work and Sexuality: Working with Lesbians and Gay Men, Basingstoke: Macmillan. Fish, J. (2006) Heterosexism and Social Care, Basingstoke: Palgrave. Hicks, S. (1996) ‘The last resort? Lesbian and gay experiences of the social work assessment process in fostering and adoption’, Practice, 8(2), 15-24. Hicks, S. (2005) ‘Sexuality: social work theories and practice’. In Adams, R., Dominelli, L. & Payne, M. (eds) Social Work Futures: Crossing Boundaries, Transforming Practice, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Jeyasingham, D. (2008) ‘Knowledge/ignorance and the construction of sexuality in social work education’, Social Work Education, 27(2), 22–35. Jones, R. & Bywater, J. (2007) Sexuality and Social Work. Exeter: Learning Matters. Leech, N. and Trotter, J. (2005) ‘”None of them ever asked about sex”: some personal thoughts as to why social workers have difficulty discussing sexuality with young people’, Socio-analysis, 7, 19-36. Logan, J. (2001) ‘Sexuality, child care and social work education’, Social Work Education, 20(5), 563–575. Logan, J., Kershaw, S., Karban, K., Mills, S. Trotter, J. & Sinclair, M. (1996) Confronting Prejudice: Lesbian and Gay Issues in Social Work Education, Aldershot: Arena. Shaw, I. and Norton, M. (2007) The Kinds and Quality of Social Work Research in UK Universities: Using Knowledge In Social Care Report17, London: Social Care Institute for Excellence. Trotter, J. (1998) ‘Learning and practising, or just saying the words? Anti-discriminatory issues in social work training’, Journal of Practice Teaching in Health and Social Work, 1(2), 31-47. Trotter, J. (2000) ‘Speaking out, coming out and being outed: different sexualities and child protection practices’. In Cox, P., Kershaw, S. & Trotter, J. (eds) Child Sexual Assault: Feminist Perspectives, London: Macmillan. Trotter, J. (2000) ‘Who’s leading whom? Sexuality and young people’. In Harris, J., Froggett, L. & Paylor, I. (eds) Social Work Making a Difference, Birmingham: Venture Press. Trotter, J. and Gilchrist, J. (1996) ‘Assessing DipSW students: anti-discriminatory practice in relation to lesbian and gay issues’, Social Work Education, 15(1), 75-82. Joy Trotter & Trish Hafford -Letchfield