In is different. An example of diversity in

 In
this essay, I will be discussing the importance of diversity in human identity
and experience in relation to anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice.
I will also be analysing the significance of rights, social justice and
economic wellbeing for the social work practice. Lastly, I will be discussing
the importance of reflective practice and analyse the relationship between my
personal and professional values.

 

The Oxford dictionary defines diversity as
the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin,
colour, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation. The importance of
diversity is well established in the social work practice and its inclusion in
the College of the social work professional capabilities framework. Diversity,
as stated in the (PCF domain 3), “social workers, must understand that
diversity characterises and shapes human experience and is critical to the
formation of identity”. It is very important that social workers recognise and
respect every service user’s identity and how they wish to be perceived.
Diversity is all about acceptance and respect and recognising that each
individual is different. An example of diversity in our society today is
gender; Women earn less than men doing similar jobs and find it hard to break
through the glass ceiling to get to top positions. Men are seen to have more
rights than women and valued than women in the past. The society needs to do
more by identifying that both men and women are equal; no sex is superior to
the other.

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The Oxford dictionary defines discrimination as the unjust or
prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the
grounds of race, age, or sex, recognition. (Oxford dictionary, 2007). There are
different types of discrimination; indirect, direct, discrimination by
association, victimisation and harassment. According to the (Equality ACT 2010,
s13), direct discrimination is:

A person (A) discriminates against another
(B) if, because of a protected characteristics, A treats B less favourably than
A treats or would treat others.

The protected characteristics are age, disability, gender,
sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, being
married or in a civil partnership, being or becoming a transsexual person.

Indirect discrimination as stated in the (Equality ACT 2010,
s19):

A person (A) discriminates against another
(B) if A applies to B a provision, criterion or practice which is
discriminatory in relation to a relevant protected characteristic of B’s.

Indirect discrimination occurs when a policy which applies in
the same way for everybody has an effect which particularly disadvantages
people with a protected characteristic (Equality Act – Explanatory Notes)

The Equality Act became law in 2010; this act replaced the
Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. This Act is
in play to help guide employers and employees on what needs to be done in order
to make a workplace a fair environment for everyone. This act shows the
importance of discrimination within the society and protects people from
discrimination.  A good example of
discrimination could be; a Muslim social worker who wears hijab to work but
doesn’t get an invitation to social functions planned by work because of their
assumption based on her religious belief (wearing hijab). The organisation has
discriminated against her; they didn’t ask if she would be interested but have
made the assumption that because she wears a hijab, she is not sociable. As
social workers, we must challenge discrimination at all times as it is a
spreading disease.

 

Anti-oppressive as defined by Clifford (1995, p.75) ‘to
indicate an explicit evaluative

position that constructs social divisions (especially
‘race’, class, gender, disability, sexual

orientation and age) as matters of broad social
structure, at the same time as being personal

and organisational issues.  It looks at the use and abuse of power not
only in relation to

individual or organisational behaviour, which may be
overtly, covertly or indirectly racist,

classist, sexist and so on, but also in relation to broader
social structures for example, the

health, educational, political and economic, media and
cultural systems and their routine

provision of services and rewards for powerful groups
at local as well as national and

international levels. These factors impinge on
people’s life stories in unique ways that have to

be understood in their socio-historical complexity.
(Clifford 1995, p.65)

An example of an oppressive
practice is: Regina, a single black mother whose young son (2yrs) has ended in
the care system due to her use of drugs. Regina’s social worker is a white
male; the social worker has placed the child in foster care with a white
family. For Amelia to get her son back, she has to be assessed to be a fit
carer. The social worker, in this case, doesn’t log meetings with Regina or
update the system on her well being. Regina has been clean for over six months
and has been attending her meetings. The social worker hasn’t logged any
information about this or reviewed Regina’s case because of his assumptions about
black women (drug abuser, baby mama, irresponsible). He didn’t bother to know
why Regina got to that drug using state; he’s just assumed things since his
first meeting with her. The social worker, in this case, has abused his use of power;
he’s been indirectly racist and sexist. 

   Anti-discriminatory practice (ADP) is an
attempt to eradicate discrimination from our own practice and challenge it in
the practice of others (Thompson 2001, p.11). Example of an ADP is; a school
teacher who makes sure that the learning resources he/she uses reflects on
different cultures, backgrounds, religious beliefs. Showing her students posters
or pictures of different races; she has practiced a good ADP by making sure
that a general knowledge is covered and not just what applies to the certain
students.

 

  “All human beings are born with equal
and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms”. (Equality and Human
Rights Commission) online 

Human
Rights are those basic standards without which people
cannot live in dignity.  They

are
basic rights and freedom that belong to every individual in this world. These

rights apply regardless of where you are from, what your believes are or how you
choose to

live
your life.   These basic rights are based on values like dignity, fairness, equality,
respect

and
independence. There are three types of human rights;  

1.     
International
– The Universal Declaration of Human Rights .It’s been described as ‘the foremost statement of the rights and freedoms of
all human beings’, it was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations
in 1948.It represents the first international agreement on
the basic principles of human rights. The Declaration is based on dignity,
equality and fairness. In an introduction and 30 ‘Articles’ that express the
obligations of Member States, it sets out a range of rights and freedoms to
which everyone, everywhere in the world, is entitled. Examples of these are the
right to life and freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment 

2.      Regional – European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR) protects the human rights of people in countries that
belong to the Council of Europe. All 47 Member States of the Council, including the
UK, have signed the Convention. Its full title is the ‘Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms’. Examples of these rights are the right to education, to respect
family and private life, fair trial. 

3.      Domestic – Human Rights 1998. It sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK
is entitled to. Examples of these rights are the right to free
elections, freedom of thought, religion and belief, no punishment without law.  

 

A
rights-based practice is about empowering people to know and claim their rights and increasing the
ability and accountability of individuals and institutions who are responsible
for respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights.(Scottish Human Rights) online. It is about making sure that both the standards and the principles of human
rights are interrelated into policymaking as well as the day to day running of organisations. An example of a rights-based practice: myself being a social worker and
having a homeless asylum seeker as a service user. Regardless of his/her immigration status, it is my duty
to advise the service user of his/her rights and how to claim whatever benefits
or entitlement he/she can. I will make sure this service user has the right guidance on how to go about his entitlement.  

It
means giving service users the opportunity to be involved in decision making about their
life and their rights. It also means increasing the ability of those with responsibility for
fulfilling rights to recognise and know how to respect those rights, and make
sure they can be held to account. 

 

    Social
Justice as defined by (Banks, 2012.p 63) is “generally regarded as being about
the distribution of advantages and disadvantages in society”. Social justice is
at the heart of the social work profession, one of the capabilities framework
published by the College of social work was about

(1)  
Recognising the principles of human rights and
equality, as stated in the international and national law, conventions and
policies

(2)  
Use and contribute to case law ad applying these rights
in practice

(3)  
Understand the impact of poverty, and promote economic
well-being

It is very important that social workers challenge
social justice and the welfare of each individual as this is what the
profession is all about. Social workers have a duty to support the economic
well-being of service users, according to the framework, by helping to lift
them out of poverty. This is about promoting basic human needs and a good
quality of life. Social work can challenge economic disadvantage by fighting
poverty, sharing social and public resources (housing, monetary benefits)
equally and fairly, equality of treatment and opportunity.

 

What is reflective practice and why is it important? 

     “Reflective
practice is a way of studying your own experiences to improve the way you work.
It is very useful for health professionals who want to carry on learning
throughout their lives”. (Bright Knowledge) online 

Jasper (2003, p.112) summarises reflective practice as
having the following three components: 

1.     
Things (experiences) that happened to the person 

2.     
The reflective processes that enables the person to learn from those experiences 

3.     
The actions that results from the new perspectives that are taken 

 Reflection is a great way to boost confidence and become more prepared and also act in a professional manner at all
times. Reflective practice is very effective for the social work practice as it
helps to recapture experiences, and evaluate what has happened and what could be done differently.  There are
different types of reflective models, i.e. Borton 1970 reflective model, Kolb and Fry 1975 reflective model, Argyris and Schon 1978 model, Gibbs 1978 reflective
model. However, the model I am very much comfortable with is that of Gibbs reflective cycle. 

Gibbs’ reflective cycle is a process involving six steps: 

·        
Description –
What happened? 

·        
Feelings –
What did you think and feel about it? 

·        
Evaluation –
What were the positives and negatives? 

·        
Analysis –
What sense can you make of it? 

·        
Conclusion –
What else could you have done? 

·        
Action Plan –
What will you do next time? 

It is a ‘cycle’ because the action you take in the final stage will feed
back into the first stage, beginning the process again. Reflective practice is very important in social work practice as it
helps to share our experience and knowledge with others. It also helps to
identify our strength and weakness but most importantly, it helps us develop
our own self-awareness as an individual and a professional.  Practicing
in a reflective way will also help to improve the quality of service you give and close the gap between theory and
practice. 

 

My Values as an individual and
professional values

   Values
are central to being human: nothing we do is unconnected with values. If we
want to

understand,
and be able to work with people, then we need to have an understanding of the

complexities
of values in people’s lives. Any attempt to understand people that do not  

consider
the values dimension is doomed to failure as values are so central to
everything we

do, both as
individuals and professional social workers.”Moss et al. (2008, p.186)

The above statement is
clearly saying that as an individual, our values plays an important part

in our every day decisions,
action or in the way we behave generally. Our values can be made

up of religious, ethical,
cultural, political or just personal beliefs. For example, it is my

cultural belief that I must
respect the elderly and people in position of power, however as a

social worker; I must
respect everyone regardless of their age or position as respect is a

fundamental rules of the
profession. This could be a problem because if  I believe that

someone in a higher position
than myself have done something wrong and I didn’t challenge

that persons decision; this
could lead to a bad practice and could affect decision making.  

As a social worker, I must think carefully
about my values in every aspect of my conducts, not just as a professional or
when working with service users. Code 5.8 states that a social
worker must not “behave in a way, in work or outside work, which would call
into question your suitability to work in social care services”. (General
Social Care Council, 2010). The Professional Capabilities framework also made
emphasises on the importance of values to the profession: “Social workers must
understand the professions ethical principles and their relevance to practice.
Demonstrate awareness of own personal values and how these can impact on
practice” (College of social work 2012, PCF Domain 2) online

Being a social worker, I must
always put aside my personal values and beliefs and adhere to that of the
profession so as to deliver a smooth and fair service to the service users. I
also have to practice in a reflective way at all times as this will help me
develop myself and learn from previous experiences. This essay as really helped
me to reflect on what my expectations should be and how practice my profession
in a fair manner.