Conclusion and Recommendations

Concern for worker safety does not fully account for the difference in responses, since comparative scenarios also containing potential danger to the worker did not elicit similar responses.  Whether the disclosure was worker-initiated (proactive) or made in response to a client’s direct question (reactive) did not appear to account for the differences either.  Non-disclosure may perpetuate structural oppression by failing to challenge discrimination, in contrast to core social work values (Health and Care Professions Council, British Association of Social Workers).  Greater awareness of heterosexism and sexual orientation is needed in social work training and practice settings.  There should be greater consideration of self-disclosure in social work education to equip practitioners to make decisions about disclosure from an educated and informed position.  Less emphasis should be placed on avoiding self-disclosure and greater emphasis should be placed on managing self-disclosure.

In July 2013 an article was published in Community Care on-line magazine to distribute the findings:

http://communitycare.rbiblogs.co.uk/mental-health/2013/07/this-profession-should-be-challenging-prejudice-not-telling-social-workers-to-hide-their-sexuality/ 

Many thanks to Andy McNicoll at Community Care for running the article; to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey; and to everyone who took such an interest in the research, including Dr Martin Webber at the University of York for his supervision and support, and Matt Cornock at the University of York for his help and advice with IT.  Special thanks to the two people who agreed to be interviewed.

Advertisements