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Information for the media

Journalist facing camera

We connect journalists to the National President Christine Craik, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board Director Linda Ford and AASW social workers with expertise on a wide range of social justice and social work practice topics. 

Christine Craik Linda Ford
AASW National President Christine Craik AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director Linda Ford

Here are their bios:

AASW National President Christine Craik

Christine has worked as a social worker in family support, housing, community health and hospitals with a focus on domestic violence, sexual abuse and refugees for almost three decades. Christine holds a Master’s Degree in Social Policy and Management and is currently completing her PhD in the area of domestic and family violence. Christine was National Vice President of the AASW from 2011- 2017. She has chaired many Committees, including the Governance review of 2015-16. Christine currently lectures full time in the undergraduate and post graduate Social Work Degrees at RMIT University, is an active member of many community groups, including Chair of Project Respect, working with women trafficked into the sex industry. Christine was elected National President in November 2017.

AASW Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander representative director Linda Ford

Linda Ford is an Aboriginal woman from North West Queensland with 25 years’ experience as a social worker in rural, remote and urban areas. Linda is particularly passionate about Child Protection after working for seventeen years in this area of social work. Following this Linda commenced working in Queensland Health in a variety of roles including Director of Social Work for North West Hospital and Health Service. Linda currently works in Mental Health. Previously, Linda has been guest lecturer and adjunct lecturer for James Cook University in North Queensland in the areas of social work theory and ethical practice and more recently has presented papers in domestically and internationally in relation to Aboriginal health. Linda is committed to the profession of social work and prior to becoming a National Board member, Linda was past President of the AASW North Queensland Branch. Linda has been full Director of the Board since 1 November 2017.

Contact us on 0413 532 954 or media@aasw.asn.au

Representation of social workers in the media: Information for journalists and media outlets

What is a social worker?

A qualified social worker in Australia has an AASW accredited, 4-year minimum bachelor or masters qualification in social work; or overseas equivalent as assessed by the AASW.

Misrepresentation of the social work title

The ‘social worker’ title is not legally protected in Australia meaning that unqualified workers often use the term to describe themselves, or the term is used by others; such as the media; to generically describe people employed in social and community services.

The AASW takes instances of misconduct by qualified social workers very seriously, however inaccurate use of the term ‘social worker’ in the context of reporting misconduct is detrimental to the reputation of the profession and misleads the public.

What is the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)?

The AASW is the membership body for professionally qualified social workers in Australia.

The social work profession is currently not formally regulated in Australia; however the AASW self-regulates the profession by setting the educational, practice and ethical standards; as well as manages its own complaints process.

The AASW has over 12,000 members and estimates there are over 32,000 professionally qualified social workers in Australia.

Who is eligible to join the AASW?

Those who have graduated with an AASW accredited tertiary qualification in social work (or overseas equivalent) are eligible to join the AASW. Those who are in the process of studying a course accredited by the AASW can join as student members.

How to find out whether someone is a legitimate, professionally qualified social worker

If in doubt about a person’s professional qualification, the AASW encourages the media to contact us before referencing the term ‘social worker/s’ in articles; particularly when it concerns matters relating to misconduct or harm to the public.

Where this is not possible the AASW requests that other generic terms are used, for example ‘family care worker’, ‘aged care worker’, ‘social welfare worker’, or ‘youth worker’.

The AASW is happy to be consulted on matters relating to social workers and their public profile in the media.

Contact our Communications Lead Angela Yin on media@aasw.asn.au with any enquiries.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers