By definition, social work is jointly presented by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and International Association of School of Social Work (IASSW):
The social work profession facilitates social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance well-being. (March 2013)
The rights of social work are partially outlined. Social work foremost rights include the right to fulfill its professional mandates and to live by its values. Its responsibilities cover those that pertain to the dispensation of its basic functions, roles, professional standards, and adherence to its local and international codes of ethics. Social work is accountable to the clients, the general public, and the society.
Responsibilities of social workers working within their field of specialization are to help children, assist those life-threatening problems, or aid people in overcoming addictions. It is a responsibility of social worker to protect and uphold respect for the inherent worth and dignity of all people as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other related UN declarations on rights and the conventions derived from those declarations. Social workers have a responsibility to promote social justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to the people with whom they work. Social workers have a responsibility to apply the professional values and principles set out above to their practice. They should act with integrity and treat people with compassion, empathy, and care.
Accountability of social worker is to the clients, colleagues, employers, professional associations, and to the law. Social workers are accountable for their actions to the values and principles of the profession, which require them to act in a reliable, honest, and trustworthy manner. They are answerable to their clients, professional bodies like registered social workers (RSW), certified social workers (CSW), licensed social workers (LSW), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), and licensed independent social workers (LISW) organization, and the laws promulgated and enforced by appropriate government agencies.