This article examines the gender-blind perception of the social work profession in Croatia and its relation to domestic violence cases. In the past few years, the media and the public have routinely expressed outrage at social workers for not preventing severe cases of violence against women and children. The shift from state socialism to capitalism in Croatian society has considerably affected the profession of social work and facilitated the defunding and understaffing of the welfare sector. I argue that a more nuanced, gendered approach is needed in demanding prevention work from social work centres (SWC). Most studies on the causes of burnout in social workers have ignored the feminisation of the profession and the gendered implication of their precarious professional position and responsibility to protect and help the most vulnerable members of society. The perceptions of social work by other experts working with cases of domestic violence and social workers themselves are important to comprehend a bigger picture of professional judgment and attributions of blame. In-depth interviews were conducted with experts working with domestic violence, including the police, judges, prosecutors, social workers, feminist NGO coordinators, and women’s shelter workers. The feminisation of social work and systemic undervaluing of care work contribute to the easy targeting of social workers while leaving the patriarchal institutionalisation unexplored. For this reason, I conclude that social workers would benefit from class and gender solidary with their clients to fight patriarchal biases.
|Number of pages||28|
|Journal||Croatian Sociological Review|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Jan 2023|