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February 21 , 2008

Practicing Rights

Human rights-based approaches to social work practice


Social work Codes of Ethics of professional organizations around the world appeal to the concept of people having ‘rights’ that social workers need to respect and advocate for. However, it isn’t always clear how social workers can actually incorporate human rights-based approaches in their practice, whether domestic or international. This book fills this gap by advancing rights-based approaches to social work.

The first part gives an overview of the relationship between human rights and social work, and outlines a model for how rights-based approaches can be integrated into social work practice.

The second part introduces the rights-based framework across five mainstream areas of practice – poverty, child welfare, older adults, health, and mental health. Each of these substantive chapters:

  • introduces the area of practice and traditional social welfare interventions associated with it
  • outlines relevant human rights frameworks
  • explores case studies showcasing rights-based approaches
  • presents practical implications for implementing rights-based social work practice.

The book ends with a discussion of the limitations and criticisms of rights-based approaches and lays out some future directions for practice.

This accessible text is designed for all those interested in learning how to introduce human rights-based interventions into their practice. It will be of particular use to social work students taking direct practice, macro practice, social policy, international social work and human rights courses as part of their program.

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