Disaster and After: Social Work in the Aftermath of Disaster

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J. Kingsley Publishers, 1993 - Social Science - 207 pages
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The high media profile given to the large-scale disasters of recent years has not only shown in close-up the devastation caused, but has heightened public awareness of the emotional impact on those involved. Presenting the results of the only major research project to examine the response of the social services and other care organisations to a major disaster, Disaster and After provides a comprehensive account of the role of social workers and carers in disaster work, and the future implications for the social services.

Over the last ten years, social work organisations have developed a response that goes beyond acknowledging that the immediate victims need help. The author shows how the emphasis is now on a proactive system that does not wait for people to ask for help, but is responsible for offering help. As experience has grown, standard elements that are recognised as being effective have been built-in, such as the helpline, which acts as a vital first point of contact between those seeking help and those offering information, advice and counselling.

The long-term demand on carers and social workers has inevitably increased, and planning of these services has been greatly influenced by recent research which has consistently focused on the impact of a tragedy on those groups who are often perceived to be further away from the disaster. Disaster and After examines the growing recognition that it is essential to provide counselling and support for the staff who are themselves providing care for victims.

Concentrating on the response to the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster, the author describes the ways in which services were provided, evaluates from the user's perspective the effectiveness of services provided, and considers the experience of providing a service in the aftermath of disaster, focusing on the impact on workers and the implications for training and education. Disaster and After identifies the potential for applying the lessons learnt in providing post-disaster services to the issues of stress and staff care in mainstream social work.

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The Impact of Disaster
Help Support and Recovery

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About the author (1993)

Dr Tim Newburn was Research Director of the Hillsborough Project at the National Institute for Social Work. He is now Research Fellow at the Policy Studies Institute, London.

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