NASW-NJ Shares Safety Guidelines Following Attack on Social Worker in Camden
On Monday, Leah R. Coleman, 29, a caseworker with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, was stabbed repeatedly at her workplace in Camden. At this time, Coleman has undergone surgery and remains in the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her for a full recovery from this brutal attack.
Social workers provide services in an increasingly complex, dynamic social environment and have a broadening client base. These social and economic changes have created pressures in social work practice settings that work to meet the needs of people desperate for help.
NASW has established Safety Guidelines for the profession that may be a helpful resource to communities; private and public agencies; and local, state, and federal policymakers invested in creating a safer work environment for social workers. We also encourage and promote ongoing safety training for social workers.
While social workers are at an increased risk for workplace violence than the general public, it must be remembered that most of the people they serve, including those with mental health concerns, are not violent. In fact, they are more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators of it. What is clear, however, is that the social work profession must continue to press for safeguards against potential violence, and an increased public awareness of the vital work social workers do for the most vulnerable in our society.
Mary Jean Weston
NASW-NJ Associate Executive Director