Tackling racism in social work

Unfortunately, racism is still a key issue in the health and social care sector. From verbal abuse to physical threats, over a quarter of social workers have reported instances of racial discrimination in the workplace. In this blog, we discuss the steps you should take if you experience racism as a social worker 

What should I do if I experience racism as a social worker? 

  • Raise it with your team manager 

First and foremost, you should raise the issue with your team manager who will be able to support you and help take you through your organisation’s bullying, harassment and discrimination policy. 

  • Prioritise your mental health 

No one should have to tolerate racism – let alone in the workplace. If your mental health is starting to suffer as a result then make sure to talk to someone. Organisations such as Samaritans, Rethink and Mind offer free support and information to help you if you are struggling. 

  • Be comfortable having uncomfortable conversations 

Be transparent with the families you work with, and bring up racism in group supervision as well as individual supervision sessions. If we keep it taboo then nothing will change, so it is important (if you feel safe doing so) to start conversations about race. Your identity as a social worker 

  • Keep a record 

While management should take a zero-tolerance approach to racism in the workplace, it may be worth keeping a record of everything that takes place as evidence. For example, note down any racially aggravated comments/actions that were made against you, who you reported it to and the outcome. 

  • Challenge internal structures/policies 

Are there any people of colour at board level within your organisation? Are the anti-racism policies clear and accessible to everyone? Do you feel you are taken seriously when raising a complaint? All of these things are deeply significant to protecting you as an employee and should be challenged if there are any areas in need of change. Raise these concerns with management, speak to your colleagues and work together to resolve problems and promote equity. 

For further insight into racism in social work, check out this Community Care podcast episode.

We hope you found this blog useful. Let’s work together to put an end to racism. 

If you’re looking for a new adventure in social care then we might just have the role for you. Get in touch with our friendly team on 0203 8929 340 today.

carlette Isaac

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