Definition of Social Work

The Policy, Ethics, and Human Rights Committee of the British Association of Social Workers (2012) provides the definition of social work: “the social work profession promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilizing theories of human behavior and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.”

It is understood here that social work is a profession that fulfills the social welfare mandate to promote well-being and quality of life. As such, it encompasses activities directed at improving human and social conditions and alleviating human distress and social problems through enhancing people’s competence and functioning, ability to access social supports and resources, creating humane and responsive social services, and expansion of the structures of society that provide opportunities for all citizens (DuBois & Miley 2008).