The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being… Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.

(From the International Definition of Social Work, IFSW, 2004)

The ethics of the social work profession promotes social justice, opposes violations of human rights, and commits to non-abusive relationships in families, communities and societies. Social work is all about people and the social contexts and environments in which they live. Social workers work with individuals, families, communities and organisations. There are many areas of social work practice, and many different ways that social workers work toward change – from counselling and advocacy for individuals and families, to community work and social development, to research, social planning, social policy reform and advocacy for social justice.

Key contexts of practice include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities
  • Care for aged people
  • Child and family welfare
  • Child protection
  • Community work
  • Corrective services
  • Disability
  • Domestic violence
  • Family law
  • Family, individual and group counselling
  • Hospital or medical social work
  • Management and policy development
  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Mental health services
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Research, education and training
  • Rural social work
  • Services for victims of sexual assault
  • Social planning and social development
  • Welfare and consumer rights