Next Steps and Recommendations

The Victims of Crime: A Social Work Response project is an important first step in developing collaborative relationships between the profession of social work and the victim assistance field. Additional activities undertaken at the national, state, and local levels can continue to build on those collaborations. The chapter replication kits and the social work continuing education curriculum kits provide the professional associations and social work educators with tested materials that will increase the knowledge of social workers who are practicing in the field and those who are receiving their academic preparation in the classroom. To encourage the continued training of professional social workers, the Office for Victims of Crime is making available free training on how to use the materials through its Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC). TTAC will pay expenses for a trainer to provide the training or conduct train-the-trainer sessions. (See potential next steps for the social work profession and the victim assistance field under “Recommendations for the Social Work Profession” and “Recommendations for the Victim Assistance Field.”)

Recommendations for the Social Work Profession

  • Based on the topics identified through workshop evaluations and the continuing education needs assessment, National Association of Social Workers (NASW) chapters should consider providing followup workshops on clinical skills for working with crime victims. These workshops should be available at local trainings and state conferences.

  • Victim assistance professionals who are NASW members can work with their local and state chapter leadership to share their expertise through collaborative projects.

  • NASW and other social work associations should continue to raise awareness of the importance of the victim assistance field by publishing articles in professional newsletters and giving presentations at local, state, and national conferences.

  • NASW and other social work associations can spotlight victim assistance as an emerging field of practice and include it in public relations materials that explain the diversity of social work practice.

  • Undergraduate and graduate social work programs should continue to recognize the wealth of opportunities for practice that the victim assistance field has to offer and develop ways to expose social work students to this option for professional practice.

  • Social work educators can develop course content and assignments that integrate competencies specific to victim assistance into the social work curriculum. The impact of crimes against people of color, for example, can be added to cultural diversity courses.

  • Elective courses in victim assistance could be offered in social work programs to help students learn the specific competencies necessary for practice in the field.

  • To heighten exposure to the victim assistance field among social work students, social work textbooks, particularly introductory ones, can highlight the field and its contributions.

  • Social work educators can invite victim assistance professionals into the classroom for guest lectures and other special presentations to make opportunities for practice in this field come alive. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices should be approached to develop field opportunities for students.

Recommendations for the Victim Assistance Field

  • The victim assistance field should consider recruiting professional social workers. Recruitment techniques include placing personnel ads in social work publications, exhibiting at continuing education conferences for social workers, attending student career fairs, and linking with local universities and colleges to offer field placement internships to undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Because of the high percentage of crime victims from communities of color and the emphasis that social work education places on cultural competency, social workers of color should be particularly encouraged to enter the field.

  • Representatives of the victim assistance field can present workshops at local, state, and national continuing education conferences for social workers that focus on specific competencies needed for work in the field.
Previous Contents Next

The Victim Assistance Field and the Profession of Social Work
March 2006