Social workers, whatever their specialism, practise with people at the margins of society. It is therefore essential that all social work students not only understand the powers and processes that lead to disadvantage and marginalisation but develop the knowledge and skills needed to bring about change and uphold social justice in all aspects of their professional practice. Split into three parts, this book considers what is meant by disadvantage and marginalisation, how this can come about and the impact this may have on lives, before unpicking the key knowledge and skills needed to practice effectively with individuals and groups. It then goes on to show what good ethical and reflective practice looks like, going step-by-step through the ins and outs of using the law and policy to bring about change before considering key ethical dilemmas in practice.

Using the law and policy
Using the law and policy
Achieving a social work degree

This chapter will help you to develop the following capabilities, to the appropriate level, from the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).


With reference to current legislative requirements, recognise personal and organisational discrimination and oppression and with guidance make use of a range of approaches to challenge them.

Rights, justice and economic wellbeing

Understand how legislation and guidance can advance or constrain people’s rights and recognise how the law may be used to protect or advance their rights and entitlements.

Work within the principles of human and civil rights and equalities legislation, differentiating and beginning to work with absolute, qualified and competing rights and differing needs and perspectives.

Contexts and organisations

Understand legal obligations, structures and behaviours within organisations ...

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