There is no doubt that the ethical dimension is an integral part of social work’s theoretical and practical activity. The world of values impacts the everyday, seemingly ethically-neutral actions of social workers. Values perform a number of functions related to the individual social worker and professional community.
The diversity of concepts and approaches of theoretical and professional ethics, which have been indicated, meets with the diversity of concepts and approaches within the theory of social work and subsequently undergoes verification and correction in the activities of social workers.
A challenging area of interest is the issue of education on the values of social work, i.e., the issue of training future social workers. Here is the challenge not only to teach students to look at the person in a holistic way, and the person in their situation, but also to be able to cross the horizon of particular situations and be able to answer the question on the very concept of social work: as activities focused on individual change (e.g., change of client’s life situation, changes of self-concept of social worker, etc.) or activities initiating/promoting social, structural change (articulation of the unity/collective identity of the professional community as a tool for social change) to enhance wellbeing.
The articles offered in this issue cannot cover all the richness of social work ethics, yet offer valuable insights into the ethical issues that a social worker addresses in her/his daily work, an insight into the changes in social work discourse arising from today’s social challenges.
Five of the articles submitted for this issue of the Journal specifically cover important areas in how we view and apply philosophical concepts and make applications of these to social work practice and social work education. In addition, several of the articles address key issues for social work practice relating to approaches and decision making and justifiability of mentions in different countries in Europe and more widely from an international aspect.
The wide range of countries represented from amongst the authors of the ten articles involved into this issue present opportunities in terms of our potential for learning from each other in a European and international context include Slovakia, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Hungary, United Kingdom, and Portugal.
Our first article examines key issues of philosophical approaches across different faiths and countries. Sara Ashencaen Crabtree and Jonathan Parker examine social welfare ontologies in Britain in relation to political ideologies of neoliberalism and austerity, scrutinising the negative impact of those factors on the value driven role of professional social work, and present an alternative view of approaches drawing upon the Islamic principle of zakat, concerning social cohesion in times of rising social need.
In Perspective of Social Work in the Axiological and Ethical Dimension, Natalia Głódź and Aleksandra Półtorzycka present their findings from quantitative research with a sample of 145 social workers, emanating from concepts of the relationship between help giving and decisionmaking in social work from an axiological-ethical and practical perspective.
In their article on The Relevance of the Code of Ethics of Social Work in the Professional Everyday Life in the Youth Services and Child Protection Systems in Hungary and Germany, Alexandra Geisler et al. examine ethical issues for 122 professionals in the youth welfare and child protection systems in both Germany and Hungary by way of focusing on issues of codes of ethics, ethical decision making, abuse of power, law, and dilemmas arising from the application of ethical ideas in such settings.
Communication with the Hospitalized Patient and the Ethical Dilemmas in the Covid-19 Pandemic by Isabel Maria et al. analyses the constraints perceived within the communications domain as these relate to ethical dilemmas arising from their professional practice in a hospital Social Work department in Portugal in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jana Šolcová et al. discuss the philosophical concepts of state and democratic citizenship in social work with clients, based on reflections on the professional practice of social work students in Norway.
Barbora Faltová and Adéla Mojžíšová present the findings of their Evidence-Based systematic literature review, in order to identify from international evidence appropriate and effective interventions in school social work in Czech Schools for disadvantaged young people. Supporting Family Capacity During the Economic Crisis, Fadi Sakka et al. propose a practical model of supporting family capacity during the financial crisis arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jana Gabrielová et discuss their work about the Characteristics of Long-Term Clients of Social Work in Municipalities in the Czech Republic, examining if there are any correlations between the period of involvement of clients, and socio-demographic factors of age or gender.
Alkauthar Seun Enakele then addresses factors influencing the Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Nigeria, focusing on males as victims, with a particular focus on what this means for such victims within what the author identifies as a patriarchal cultural standpoint. The author recommends that social workers assess not only the presence and effects of physical violence, but all types of abuses that women may perpetrate in such relationships.
In the final article, Larissa Starovoitova et al. examine the beginning of social work training for public charity in Russia, examining how the values, approaches and methods of social work developed from a very different preceding perspective, by analysing significant historical documents concerning the development of the Psychoneurological Institute under the leadership of V. M. Bekhterev, the “first social institute”.
We hope that the work of the authors in their production of ideas and knowledge in relation to social work values and ethics will contribute to the social work profession’s understanding and application of the important and complex sets of issues involved in the application of philosophical and ethical considerations in social work reflections and practise.
Brian Littlechild, Jelena Petrucijová
editors of the issue