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Editor's e-Note
Social work clients often must come into contact with the legal system as they navigate events in their lives such as intimate partner violence, child custody, criminal or civil charges, divorce, and more. As their advocates, social workers must accompany clients on those journeys through a complex and confusing system with sometimes limited understanding unless they have earned another degree in a legal specialty or have taken additional courses to supplement their knowledge. For those social workers who face negotiating a challenging legal system, our E-News Exclusive interviews experts in forensic social work who encourage social workers to take courses in forensic social work whenever available, seek out information from forensic social work experts, and utilize the resources of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Forensic Social Work — You’re Probably Doing It,
So Learn More About It

By Sue Coyle, MSW

For many, the legal system may seem abstract and distant. Yes, it dictates how quickly we drive and how we interact and respond to others, for example, but it does so almost indirectly.

“The average person knows that we have all these rules, but they don’t understand how it truly governs our lives,” says Viola Vaughan-Eden, PhD, MJ, LCSW, an associate professor and PhD program director at The Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work at Norfolk State University and president of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW).

Without that understanding, navigating and working within the legal system if or when it does come to the forefront of one’s life can be difficult if not seemingly impossible. For those struggling with mental health issues, abuse, criminal or civil charges, or the end/beginning of familial relationships, guidance, support, advocacy, and effective services are tantamount. That’s where social workers come in.

Full Story »
Tech & Tools
Researchers Make Recommendations, Including ‘Smart Gun’ Technology, to Reduce Firearm Suicide Rates
Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) have found that legislation reducing access to firearms has lowered firearm suicide rates in other countries. This finding is based on evidence from around the world on the relationship between firearm ownership and firearm suicide rates.

Read more »
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