Member Focus: New publication

Irish Criminology Research Network member Dr. Claire Hamilton recently published her new book, Irish Social Work and Social Care Law.

Claire is currently a lecturer in the Dept. of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work in Queen’s University Belfast. However the motivation for the book came from Claire’s time and experience teaching in DIT. Dr. Hamilton found that the lack of any central text in the area of law and social care a frustrating hurdle. Given the sensitivity of so much social work it is surprising that a textbook which outlines the overarching legal framework didn’t exist already. At the book launch Claire recalled ‘the difficulty involved in teaching law to social care students- I think most students approach law with a mixture of angst and trepidation – were compounded by the fact that was no one single accessible textbook to guide them through the module. I knew from others who taught law to social workers in their institutions that they faced similar problems. So, hopefully the book will serve to plug this gap in the literature if nothing else; bringing together in one place what I would call the architecture of the law relating to social care and social work as well as the substantive law dealing with more specialised areas: child protection, adoption, mental health, etc.’

‘I also think that now more than ever, it is important for social care practitioners to positively engage with the law. It’s easy for students to dismiss law as an irrelevant add-on to core modules such as professional practice or to see it as something that can be easily delegated to HSE solicitors and legal counsel if the need for legal advice arises. But while practitioners need not be made into lawyers, they do need to think enough like lawyers to practice preventatively or to keep themselves out of legal trouble and also to know when to seek professional legal help. The harsh reality is that increasingly in the social care and indeed early child care arena, every decision they will take as professionals is a potentially legal and litigable one’.

The book is now available from Gill and Macmillan. 

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