Hope in the face of despair

Hope in the face of despair


Written by: Frances Webber

A new book for those involved in social work attempts to confront the challenges thrown up by working with migrants and asylum seekers within a framework of racism and exclusion.

Social workers increasingly have policing and gatekeeping roles imposed on them in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. What then of the professional imperative to meet the needs of refugees and asylum seekers? This issue and others are explored by various commentators in this book by and for those involved in social work – as practitioners and trainers. The dangers of uncritical acceptance of tabloid stereotypes and naïve assumptions of Home Office benevolence for social work practice are discussed, along with the tendencies to ‘pass the parcel’ of difficult clients with expensive problems.

Through the discussions of unmet need, we glimpse the truly dreadful plight of many asylum-seeking families and children, disabled asylum seekers and those with mental health problems, in which extreme poverty and utter powerlessness in a situation of isolation, official indifference or worse from statutory care agencies compound the rejection of claims by the Home Office. But paradoxically, the book is full of hope; there are reminders of the vitality of community groups, the omnipresence of campaigns to prevent deportation, the determination of those caught up in the ‘system’ to have their humanity fully recognised. An important and challenging book.

Related links

Asylum Support

Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees in the UK

National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

Social Work, Immigration and Asylum: Debates, Dilemmas and Ethical Issues for Social Work and Social Care Practice. Edited by Debra Hayes and Beth Humphries. London, Jessica Kingsley, 2004

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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