Social Worker Death

August 7, 2008

I found this link to an article buried on the internet over the weekend. A social worker in West Virginia was sexually assaulted and killed and the arrested suspects are her clients. The current thought is that she was doing a home visit and then something went awry and she ended up dead.  This reminds me of the death of a seasoned social worker in Massachusetts and is just another reminder that our job is dangerous.

My dad is a firefighter so I am used to having a family member doing a dangerous job – it was a known possibility that he could be killed in a fire.  But it doesn’t seem that social work has that same “understanding”.  Heck, we are taught to be “strengths-based” (which I wholly believe in).  At our core, we are looking for the good in our clients, not focusing on potential dangerous spots, as firefighters do.  So does this make us more susceptible to attacks?

Personally, it is good to be reminded of these incidents and for me to know that getting attacked is always a possibility.  So I must take all of the natural precautions, such as trusting my gut, knowing where the exits are, who is in the house, and getting a good read on people.  But it is still scary to think that while I am trying to do good in the world, I am also (sometimes) putting my own safety on the line.