Social work and human rights: advocating disruptive voices

Social work and human rights: advocating disruptive voices: Given a world confronted with multiple crises, social work is challenged to radicalise its position as a human rights practice. This challenge exposes the interface between social work and legal systems and therefore urges social work research and practice to look critically towards law as a frame of reference. On the one hand, the law can be a leverage for social justice, while on the other hand, the introduction of laws can merely focus on the establishment of order, preservation of power structures, contradicting the respect for diversity and basic humanity. This indicates that social work cannot merely be seen as an implementer of legal rules, or that the reference to human rights can be reduced to listening to the voice of so called good (resilient) citizens. As several legal systems (such as child protection, general welfare, criminal justice) are a vital part of client’s social environment as well as society, social work has a duty to approach human rights as a leverage to bring in “disruptive” voices. Human rights can function as an instrument to go beyond empathy and order, and to offer a platform for advocacy of those who are not seen as having a voice, or whose voices disturb the status quo. Examples given are the voices of homeless people, people with disabilities, refugees, prisoners, etc… In order to address this challenge, TiSSA invites experts from academic social work research, professional fields and policy to the TiSSA 2023 conference in Osijek, Croatia, to discuss the development of social work research and practice as an advocate for bringing in disruptive voices.