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Supervision found wanting: experiences of health and social workers in non-government organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers
journal contributionposted on 2013-04-01, 00:00 authored by Kim RobinsonKim Robinson
This paper explores the role and function of supervision, a neglected topic in research on social work with refugees and asylum seekers. Using semi- structured interviews with health and social workers, supervision arrangements in non-government organisations (NGOs) in Australia and the UK are examined in the context of entitlement reductions and restricted access to services and support for service users. The comparative research highlights the demanding and ethically challenging nature of the work, and the impact on health and social workers of exposure to the narratives of refugees and asylum seekers subject to human rights abuses. Overall, there was found to be an inconsistent approach to supervision across the NGOs in the study, which failed to ade- quately address the demanding nature of the work. Where supervision was not provided, it placed the well-being of health and social workers at risk and reduced the effectiveness of their interventions. In conclusion, the paper develops an agenda for improving the support of health and social workers working with refugees and asylum seekers in NGOs in Australia and the UK.