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The Victim Assistance Field and The Profession of Social Work

March 2006
Fran Danis, Ph.D., ACSW


Message From the Director

The goal of the Victims of Crime: A Social Work Response: Building Skills To Strengthen Survivors project was to help professional social workers respond to the needs of adult victims of violent crime.

Why Social Workers?
More clinically trained social workers are in the U.S. labor force than psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses combined. In a 1995 study, nearly 38 percent of social workers identified their primary practice area as mental health services.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has approximately 153,000 members across the United States. This project built on earlier NASW initiatives that raised awareness about the relationship between trauma and violence and promoted disaster training for practitioners.

Project Objectives
Project objectives included conducting a professional awareness campaign, providing training to social workers on victims' rights and services, developing links between professional social work and victim assistance organizations, and replicating the project with other NASW chapters.

Next Steps and Recommendations
Recommendations are provided for both the social work profession and the victim assistance field.

Social workers whose specialties range from clinical to community practice will find that the victim assistance field uses their talents to facilitate individual, group, organizational, systemic, and community change.

For More Information


About the Author


For Further Information

OVC Resource Center: 301-519-5500
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TTY: 301-947-8374
OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center: 1-866-OVC-TTAC
TTY: 1-866-682-8880

This document was prepared by the National Association of Social Workers under grant number 1999–VF–GX–0004, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime,Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Office for Victims of Crime logo Office of Justice Programs Seal Partnerships for Safer Communities

The Office for Victims of Crime is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

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