Information for the media
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.
|AASW National President Christine Craik||AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director Linda Ford|
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries.