Domestic violence situations can potentially result in serious harm, injury, or death for anyone involved. Child welfare professionals must take precautions when providing service to families experiencing domestic violence. These resources describe the risk factors and special safety precautions child welfare workers may need to take when in the field, especially when working with families affected by domestic violence. Resources include State and local examples.
The Child Welfare Worker Safety Guide (PDF - 982 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Examines research on child welfare worker safety and explores the causes of violence against child welfare professionals, the laws and policies being used to address this issue, and how child welfare agencies can make worker safety a priority in the workplace.
Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers (PDF - 5,530 KB)
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2016)
Provides an overview of worker rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act and offers guidelines for how to prevent violence against healthcare and social service workers.
Social Work Safety
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Provides a collection of resources that highlight statewide models and State chapters focused on worker safety, including NASW standards for safety.
Social Worker Safety: Ultimate Self-Care
Social Work Today, 16(5)
Discusses child welfare worker safety and how agencies can work to enhance worker safety. Some recommendations include developing safety manuals, having shelter-in-place drills, and establishing relationships with police and other first responders.
Violent Crime and Social Worker Safety
Social Work Today
Reviews dangerous incidences of violence that have occurred against social workers and describes steps that agencies can take to protect workers. Some actions that can be taken include safety training, promoting a culture of safety and risk reduction, using technology such as GPS tracking and cell phones, crisis management training, and self-defense instruction.
State and local examples
Domestic Violence in Child Welfare (PDF - 555 KB)
Virginia Department of Social Services (2015)
Reviews worker safety in Virginia's manual for dealing with cases of domestic violence within child welfare.
Intimate Partner/Sexual Violence Response Protocol: Sample Protocol for Home Visiting Agencies (PDF - 953 KB)
Minnesota Department of Health (2017)
Provides information for home visiting agencies on developing safety plans and other procedures and protocols for cases involving domestic violence. The resource includes a discussion on safety for the home visitor on page 2.
Is Violence Against Child Welfare Workers Common?
North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Family and Children's Resource Program (2016)
Practice Notes, 21(2)
Analyzes the risk of violence for child welfare workers and presents information on the impact of experiencing client violence.
Literature Review: Worker Safety (PDF - 2,396 KB)
San Diego State University, School of Social Work
Offers a literature review on worker safety in the field of child welfare and outlines safety in various scenarios, including in the office, when making home visits, when transporting clients, and more. The resource also reviews defusing techniques, reporting violent incidents, risk factors for violent behavior, and worker safety training.
National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter
Provides an overview of workplace safety training, which can help child welfare workers avoid situations of violence.