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  • pepe132

    1. 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. 2. sexuality in social work <ul><li>familiar concepts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>social exclusion & marginalisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>these imply that social work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>embraces equality and diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>has become ‘culturally competent’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>subscribes to moral and ethical standards which include respect for others, regardless of their sexual orientation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>however </li></ul><ul><li>sexuality issues continue to be marginalized or excluded altogether (Leech & Trotter, 2005; Fish, 2006) </li></ul>
    3. 3. sexuality in research <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Others have contributed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>education - focussing on schools & sexual bullying and sex education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sociology and social policy - developing understandings & debates around sexuality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>economists and demographers - struggled to capture or predict trends relating to sexual diversity within families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>health and psychology – mostly AIDS/HIV, STDs and other ‘problems’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>criminology – around sex offenders and child sexual abuse </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. sexuality in learning <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Matters – helping social workers to support people in ‘ achieving their sexual rights ’ (Jones & Bywater, 2007, p134) </li></ul>
    5. 5. sexuality in practice <ul><li>Common mistakes: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sexuality often confused with sex (behaviour), </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sexuality confined to ‘issues’ (problems) and/or </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sexuality conflated with sexual (sexiness). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Technicist approaches to assessment and service provision have emerged which seek to identify the particular ‘ needs ’ of ‘minority’ populations (Jeyasingham, 2008) . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These have focussed on non hetero-sexual people, implying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>heterosexuals do not have needs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>non hetero-sexual people have only ‘needs’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>non-heterosexuals can be regarded as one homogenous population and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>there are no overlaps or ‘needs’ that are held in common between the ‘two’ populations. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Its also assumed that once these so-called ‘ needs ’ are ‘known’, they will somehow be addressed (Hicks, 2005) . </li></ul>
    6. 6. community of practice <ul><li>Evolving </li></ul><ul><li>Opening up a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Invite different levels of participation </li></ul><ul><li>Develop both public and private community spaces </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on values </li></ul><ul><li>Create a rhythm for the community </li></ul>
    7. 7. a case study <ul><li>Symposium: Sexuality issues in social work practice, education and research </li></ul><ul><li>Began in June 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Aims/objectives - To extend and strengthen the knowledge base by: </li></ul><ul><li>providing a friendly and safe forum for discussion and dissemination of ideas </li></ul><ul><li>sharing and developing ideas; </li></ul><ul><li>supporting and sustaining each others’ interests and endeavours; </li></ul><ul><li>contributing to and collaborating on research projects and publications. </li></ul><ul><li>  Membership - Social work and allied academics, researchers, practitioners, students and service users with proven &/or active interests in sexuality issues. </li></ul><ul><li>  Activities </li></ul><ul><li>share the data-base of contacts </li></ul><ul><li>share information, news and ideas </li></ul><ul><li>contribute ‘reading lists’, with recommended favourite(s) & accompanying review </li></ul><ul><li>regular meetings, seminars and conferences </li></ul><ul><li>research projects </li></ul><ul><li>collaborative writing </li></ul>
    8. 8. growing confidence <ul><li>Growing membership </li></ul><ul><li>Developing identity </li></ul><ul><li>Evolving leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Ongoing learning through: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>mutual engagement & joint enterprise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sharing - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>personal, educational & professional histories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>life experiences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>giving meaning to practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>participation </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. improving skills <ul><li>Virtual and real support network </li></ul><ul><li>Developing expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Campaigning / lobbying </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Workshops / conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Research projects </li></ul><ul><li>Seminar series </li></ul>
    10. 10. Exciting futures <ul><li>Early days – fluid and informal network </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognising differences? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Including and collaborating? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direction & future? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SIG or Symposium? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shifting the focus by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pursuing clarity about values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>widening participation & perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>meanings/understandings emerging - no more ‘needs’ </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. References <ul><li>Brown, H. C. (1998) Social Work and Sexuality: Working with Lesbians and Gay Men, Basingstoke: Macmillan. </li></ul><ul><li>Fish, J. (2006) Heterosexism and Social Care , Basingstoke: Palgrave. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Jeyasingham, D. (2008) ‘ Knowledge/ignorance and the construction of sexuality in social work education’, Social Work Education, 27(2), 22–35. </li></ul><ul><li>Jones, R. & Bywater, J. (2007) Sexuality and Social Work . Exeter: Learning Matters . </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Logan, J. (2001) ‘Sexuality, child care and social work education’, Social Work Education , 20(5), 563–575. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Shaw, I. and Norton, M. (2007) The Kinds and Quality of Social Work Research in UK Universities: Using Knowledge In Social Care Report 17, London: Social Care Institute for Excellence. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>