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The Complexity of Social Work with Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Community

Discuss about the Working With Community Aboriginal and Torres.

The concept to make a difference is a question of moral philosophy. By claiming to make a difference it generally means to make a social impact on the lives of the individuals we have improved and the rate of improved that has been done by us. Improvements in lives are generally associated with the context of wellbeing and development and the treatment of every individual with equity and values (Humanrights.gov.au 2018). The notion of well-being includes health, happiness, and lack of suffering and satisfaction of the individual’s preferences. The paper illustrates a personal experience of a social worker in making a difference to the lives and the health of the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community of Australia with the help of own practice framework including strategies, knowledge and personal values.

The practice of social work with the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community is complex since workers engaged in the community work tends to experience significant disadvantages. My experience as a social worker has not been different. Working as a social worker, I have known that the very definition of the social worker is the human rights worker. We help individuals to realize their daily rights and help the community people to claim their collective rights. The Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community people are the most common clients of the social worker nowadays (Mills et al. 2017). The concept of making difference in the field of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community livelihood and healthcare states the improvement of the lives of the community people, addressing of the family violence, abuses of the individual within the community and enabling equal rights of access to proper healthcare facilities and other essential needs for a better livelihood. All of these factors contribute to the violence of human rights at a number of levels.

I believe that the code of ethics in case of a social worker revolves around some of the basic principles and key values namely the dignity of the human beings, worth and the social justice. The meaning of the human dignity and worth to a social worker illustrates the worth and inherent dignity of each and every individual within the community and enabling of respect of the human rights according to the norms of the United Declaration of Human Rights (Bainbridge et al. 2015). A social justice of a social worker encircles the satisfaction level of the basic requirements, fair and equal access of the benefits and services by the community people for the effective achievement of the human potential and the recognition of the rights of the community people. These basic values and principles form the backbone of the practice framework for the establishment of the human rights foundation on the basis of social work practices.

Code of Ethics in Social Work for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Community

Community development plays very essential role in dealing with the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community since many individuals within the community are suffering and struggling with enormous issues and disadvantages. The problems and the issues that the social workers face is very complex and often are entrenched to intervene at the individual level. Suppose in the context of an aboriginal child who looks neglected and unhealthy, it is the responsibility of the social worker to ensure the safe of the child firstly. Abiding by the convention on the rights of the child, the social worker should ensure proper practice of the making a difference within the aboriginal community (Gwynn et al. 2015).

Working with the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community, helped me gain loads of information regarding the nature and the culture of the community. The aboriginal community people has a very few options of viable employment. The housing structure of the indigenous community is overcrowded no doubt and they represent very poor condition. One of the major problems of the community people is the increased consumption of alcohol. With the increased consumption of alcohol comes violence, abuse and more. It is furthermore a big challenge for the social worker to build up a co-operative leadership in case they do not have good reputation. The Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community people lack confidence towards the child protection system. The improving status of health of the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community is a big challenge for both the social service workers and the Australian government (Humanrights.gov.au 2018). There lies a wide gap of inequality among the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community people and the other people of Australia which has not been abolished till decade. While working with the community people, I developed my personal insight on how the livelihood and the status of health of the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community could tend to worsen unless substantial steps are being taken. A steady and incremental approach towards the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community by the social workers will not reduce the gap of inequality (Funston and Herring 2016). It should be understood that there is a requirement of commitments for initiating an action and proper funding towards the welfare of the community people’s rights for a real and a sustainable change. I believe the social workers surely have a very unique character to play for targeting the issues and the disadvantages of the community people, but the experience has always been a problematic one that highlights the fear, mistrust and anger of the people. The complexities in the comfort among the aboriginal and the social workers stem from racism and cultural misunderstanding (Humanrights.gov.au 2018).

Community Development for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Community

From the perceptions regarding the aboriginal people and their connection with the social workers I believe I need to improve some of my knowledge and initiate in taking effective social work educational preparation. These include improvement of the active listening skills: it is very important for the social workers to listen to the concern of the community people, and then only the people will rely on the social worker. Next, critical thinking: it is the duty of the social worker to guide and support the disadvantaged group of aboriginal people with their effective remedial solutions gained from critical thinking (Davy et al. 2017). Communication is one of the most important skills that I need to improve, it is the effective communication which enables the social worker to identify and understand the issues and how the aboriginal people are marginalized from their basic human rights (Bennett 2015). Furthermore, I need to improve my knowledges regarding the nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I had a misconception that the people of the community are harmful and tends to attack any outsider within their community. I should take proper preparation of social work education. The three main factors contributing to the barrier in the effective preparation and improvement of knowledges include racism and lack of proper understanding of the colonization impact and absence of extensive teaching resources (Humanrights.gov.au 2018). Practical steps I will take while working with them includes attitudinal factors and certain relevant factors in relation to skills and knowledges. Effective practice of social work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community people is a longstanding practice that is grounded in the indigenous knowledge (Somerville et al. 2017).

The entrenched elitism and professionalism of welfare and social work has contributed to the opposition to effectively struggle of Australian Aboriginal culture. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the indigenous community should not considered as the needy and a suffering community, instead they should be encouraged for having capacity and strength to survive irrespective of many attempts to enslave, deculture and exterminate them (Funston and Herring 2016). The moral mandate towards addressing the aboriginal issues is apparent and the Australian Association of Social Workers made it mandatory for all the social workers to encompass the Indigenous curriculum content for a culturally responsive social work procedure (Lindstedt et al. 2017). It is furthermore important for the social workers to deal with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for redressing the disadvantages of the community people. According to my personal opinion, some of the steps that can be taken while initiating the social work includes effective communication, active listening, non-judgmental attitudes, friendly behavior, acts of refrain from stereotyping, initiating the build of trust and respect and effective remedial solutions. Furthermore, it is the duty of the social worker to make the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people understand their rights and the procedure for accessing some standard healthcare facilities for a better standard of living and wellness.

Improving Knowledge and Skills for Effective Social Work with Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Community

Conclusion

The social workers who are working with the aboriginal group in the indigenous communities plays a key role for addressing the health and socio-economic disadvantages and reduction in continuing inequalities experienced by the community people in their daily lives. The paper describes my personal opinion regarding the issues and problems the social worker faces while working and dealing with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I furthermore highlighted the skills and knowledge I need to gain and improve and the steps on how actions should be taken to preserve the rights of the Aboriginal community people. Recommendation of social work education has also been stated in the essay.

References

Bainbridge, R., Tsey, K., McCalman, J., Kinchin, I., Saunders, V., Lui, F.W., Cadet-James, Y., Miller, A. and Lawson, K., 2015. No one’s discussing the elephant in the room: contemplating questions of research impact and benefit in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian health research. BMC Public Health, 15(1), p.696.

Bennett, B., 2015. “Stop deploying your white privilege on me!” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement with the Australian Association of Social Workers. Australian Social Work, 68(1), pp.19-31.

Davy, C., Kite, E., Sivak, L., Brown, A., Ahmat, T., Brahim, G., Dowling, A., Jacobson, S., Kelly, T., Kemp, K. and Mitchell, F., 2017. Towards the development of a wellbeing model for aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples living with chronic disease. BMC health services research, 17(1), p.659.

Funston, L. and Herring, S., 2016. When Will the Stolen Generations End? A Qualitative Critical Exploration of Contemporary'Child Protection'Practices in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand, 7(1), p.51.

Gwynn, J., Lock, M., Turner, N., Dennison, R., Coleman, C., Kelly, B. and Wiggers, J., 2015. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community governance of health research: Turning principles into practice. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 23(4), pp.235-242.

Humanrights.gov.au. 2018. Achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation - A human rights based approach | Australian Human Rights Commission. [online] Available at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/achieving-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-health-equality-within-generation-human [Accessed 31 May 2018].

Humanrights.gov.au. 2018. The role of social workers as human rights workers with Indigenous people and communities | Australian Human Rights Commission. [online] Available at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/role-social-workers-human-rights-workers-indigenous-people-and-communities [Accessed 31 May 2018].

Lindstedt, S., Moeller-Saxone, K., Black, C., Herrman, H. and Szwarc, J., 2017. Realist Review of Programs, Policies, and Interventions to Enhance the Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Young People Living in Out-of-Home Care. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 8(3), p.5.

Mills, K., Gatton, M.L., Mahoney, R. and Nelson, A., 2017. ‘Work it out’: evaluation of a chronic condition self-management program for urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with or at risk of cardiovascular disease. BMC health services research, 17(1), p.680.

Somerville, R., Cullen, J., McIntyre, M., Townsend, C. and Pope, S., 2017. Engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ‘Proper Way’. Newparadigm: the Australian Journal on Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 14.

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