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Social Work in the Shadow of the Law

Social Work in the Shadow of the Law

4th edition

Edited by Simon Rice and Andrew Day


This fourth edition of Social Work in the Shadow of the Law is a critical resource for social workers, social work students and for those who work in human services. All of the chapters from the third edition have been updated, with fresh accounts, references, perspectives and case studies authored by over 30 academics and senior practitioners.

The new title, Social Work in the Shadow of the Law signals a little more emphatically that this is a book that is written by and for social workers. The first part of the book offers deeply considered reflections on the relationship between social work and law, including from Phillip Swain, the founding editor of this book. It then builds on this broad, contextual introduction by examining how and when social workers interact with the law and lawyers in a wide range of different practice settings. The final section of the book considers the legal issues that arise in the social worker’s own practice, addressing matters such as confidentially and ethics, courts, tribunals and interpreters, record keeping, administrative law, and evidentiary rules.


List of tables and figures
List of abbreviations
Notes on contributors


Why social work and law? 
          Phillip Swain
Towards a reconciliation of legal and social work practice 
          Spencer Zifcak


Adoption: The changing context of adoption 
          Cas O'Neill, Paul Ban and Susan Gair
Bereavement: Social work following sudden and unexpected death 
          Dorothy Ford, Anne Giljohann and Vivienne Bateman
Child sexual abuse: Child sexual abuse – The contribution of social work to the legal process 
          Jan Breckenridge and Kerrie James, updated by Michael Salter
Corrections: Social work and prisons 
          Eileen Baldry and Mindy Sotiri
Domestic violence: Domestic violence intervention, the law and social work 
          Raquel Aldunate
Elder abuse: Elder abuse and the law 
          Elizabeth Ozanne
Family law mediation: Mediation of disputes in the Australian family law system 
          Dale Bagshaw
Financial issues: Social work practice and debt 
          Martin Ryan and Carolyn Bond
Homelessness: Housing and homelessness 
          Nola Kunnen and Sally MacKay, updated by Lou Schetzer
Indigenous Australians: De-colonisation or re-colonisation? Contemporary social work and Indigenous Australians 
          Linda Briskman and Terri Libesman
Juvenile justice: Social work and juvenile justice 
          Wing Hong Chui
Lesbian, gay and/or transgender: Lesbian, gay and/or transgender people and the law 
          Damien W Riggs and Clemence Due
Mental health: Mental health law and its implications for social work practice 
          Lisa Brophy and Bill Healy
Out-of-home care: Out-of-home care – The ongoing challenge for legal and social systems to enhance children's welfare 
          Susan Tregeagle and Louise Voigt
People with a disability: The NDIS – A quantum leap towards realising social rights for people with intellectual disability 
          Christine Bigby
Refugees and asylum seekers: Social work practice with refugees and asylum seekers 
          Mary Anne Kenny and Lucy Fiske
Social security: Social security and welfare rights – What role for social work? 
          Terry Carney and Christine Bigby


The ethics of social work practice 
          Phillip Swain and Andrew Day
Record keeping in social work practice
          Phillip Swain and Andrew Day
Social workers, the law and interpreters
          Uldis Ozolins
Courts and tribunals
          Simon Rice
          Simon Rice

Table of cases
Table of statutes


This very important book offers contributions from 35 authors on the legal aspects and contexts of social work practice.
          [The book] continues to offer a useful resource, particularly for social work and human resource practitioners, and students of both those disciplines. It is also a useful reference for legal practitioners who will gain an alternative perspective on the way the law impacts on those who may be less fortunate for a whole range of reasons. Read full review...

Allison Ballard, Ethos, ACT Law Society, September 2014

Review of previous edition:

The third edition includes chapters from 12 new contributors. New chapters cover issues such as domestic violence, working with interpreters, social work and sexuality, homelessness and housing rights, adoption and post-adoption practice, family law and social work and Indigenous Australians. ... The book refers to case law and legislation and provides case studies throughout each chapter. References to articles, statistics and law reform committee reports and other relevant government reports in particular areas are useful. Both state and territory legislation in each area is canvassed so the guide is useful nationally.

Law Institute Journal of Victoria, December 2009


Published 11 February 2014
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862879492
Australian RRP $85.00
International Price $80.00
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Law - Social Welfare Law
Social Work

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