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Article Outlines Dangers of Social Work Profession

Sherry Saturno

Social worker Sherry Saturno, LCSW, DCSW, wrote this very informative column for New York about efforts to improve safety for social workers.

Her article cites recent studies on the issue and cites what the National Association of Social Workers and at least one of its chapters is doing to keep social workers safe.

For instance, NASW is pushing for more social work safety laws. And the Massachusetts NASW Chapter’s Committee for the Study and Prevention of Violence against Social Workers created a general guideline to improve safety .

This guidelines include recognizing signs a client is becoming agitated and formulating secret code words to get help. To learn more click here.

There have been a number of reports about social workers assaulted and even murdered on the job. These include Terri Zenner, a social worker who was brutally murdered in Kansas, and Frances Mortensen, who was stabbed by a client during an in-home visit in White Plains, N.Y. and had to undergo surgery.

“Violence against social workers has become an inherent risk of the profession, and undeniably one that needs to be addressed on a national scope,”  wrote Saturno, who lives in Westchester, New York and was the 2010 NASW-New York State/Westchester Division Social Worker of the Year.

“Social workers are frequently sent to dangerous situations in neighborhoods, alone and unarmed, that police do not enter without a partner and a gun.”

NASW’s Center for Workforce Studies and the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany did a survey that found that four out of 10 social workers face personal safety issues on the job. To learn more about that study, click here.

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  1. "Men DIE at work. Women do not." |

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