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The impact of political conflict on social work: experiences from Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 13:24 authored by Shulamit Ramon, Jim Campbell, Jane Lindsay, Patrick McCrystal, Naimeh Baidoun
This paper investigates the impact of violent political conflict on social workers and service users in three countries: Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine. Despite its significance for social work (and other helping professions), there is a dearth of research on the subject. The authors construct a research framework which encapsulates the complexity and ambiguity of the issues at stake and three parallel empirical studies, which follow this framework, are presented. The findings highlight the burden of working and living in a violent political conflict, not just for service users but also for social workers. Emotional stress, fear, competing national and religious identities, yet some indication of resilience, are key findings from these studies. A number of moral and professional dilemmas emerged across all three studies, often testing loyalty to universal social work values. Thus, some respondents at times found it difficult to deal with colleagues and service users who were perceived to be ‘the enemy’. These studies highlight the need to raise the consciousness of social workers, agencies and policies about such issues in a world which is increasingly afflicted by violent political conflict. Support, education and training for social workers which transcend national contexts and further international research in this important area are recommended.
Publication titleBritish Journal of Social Work
PublisherOxford University Press