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'How can I help you?'

25-04-2006

Practice behaviour of social workers towards victims of domestic violence comparitive study between Austria and the Netherlands.

Behaviour of social workers towards victims of domestic violence

In their practice, social workers are participants in the tackle of domestic violence on a daily basis. Taken into account that social workers provide assistance in a variety of settings, they are potentially vital links in tackling this violence. This study provides research results on social work in domestic violence.

The central part of this cross-national study is a description of practice behaviour of social workers towards victims of domestic violence. Practice behaviour includes identification of domestic violence, the assessment of facts and interventions. Moreover the guidance of personal view, institution protocol or a combination of both in dealing with domestic violence is looked upon. The research results are obtained by use of a survey. The four earlier mentioned indicators measure social work practice behaviour in domestic violence. The original research group included social workers in two types of settings namely social workers active in women shelters and youth care institutions. While conducting the research a small group became additional.

The most important research results show that social workers in Austria as well as The Netherlands indeed identify, assess facts and intervene. Most eye catching is the fact that Austrian social workers identify more often then their Dutch colleagues. Obviously, some items were not applicable for social workers in both countries and within the various settings of working. The fact that identification has already taken place before working with the victim could be an explanation. Furthermore, similar patterns in fact assessment of social workers on cross-national as well as crosssetting level is recognized and shown in the chapter ‘Results’.

Intervention practices in Austria and in The Netherlands differ as the identified tasks are more frequently practiced by Austrian social workers. Moreover the influence on guiding social workers in practice differs in the fact that Dutch professionals prefer a combination of own view as well as institution protocol. Indeed, that is also recognised in Austria but to lesser extent and with a higher score on the option for institution protocol.

Although comparative research has been realised in the United States of America, this research was conducted on a pilot scale since the survey was specially set up for this research. It can be viewed as an attempt to reflect on practice behaviour of social workers in Austria and the Netherlands, aiming at identifying challenges for the profession social work.

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2005. Caroline Martin.