Support the #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Social workers call for training on working LGBT+ service users

Social workers do not need to have all the answers when it comes to working with adults or young people questioning their gender or sexuality, but listening and asking open questions helps.

This was one of several key messages which emerged from WillisPalmer’s Independent Social Worker Virtual Drop In this week to coincide with LGBT+ History Month.

ISWs highlighted the importance of receiving training in LGBT+ and gender identity issues to ensure they can practice safely, confidently and using appropriate language when working with children, young people or adults. Furthermore, they wanted clarification about how attitudes towards those questioning their identity or sexuality should be taken into account during parenting or Special Guardianship Order assessments when, for example, outdated and homophobic views were displayed by parents or potential guardians which could impact on the child.

Special guest Lily Hopkins, deputy team manager at Essex County Council, said organisations should get to grips with the basics in terms of working with LGBT+ groups before thinking about more specialist training in such issues.

It was questioned whether members of the LGBT+ community would feel a violation of their privacy if someone was to question their sexuality or gender identification.

But Lily explained: “It is important that people listen. There is always a presumption in society that people are married and have children. People automatically ask how long I have been married for or how many children I have and that is deemed appropriate. Small things like asking someone if they have a partner rather than husband or wife can make a difference as then it is not just presumed that a person is heterosexual.”

Lily also highlighted how small changes in a workplace can really make a difference when recruiting people. “If someone is trans and comes to the workplace for an interview, if there is a gender neutral toilet, it takes away any awkward questions and could put that potential employee more at ease and to feel more confident which could make all the difference whether they get the job or not.”

Pronouns on email signatures also show that people are a positive LGBT+ ally and workplaces should take note of consent forms and the reason why questions around race, ethnicity and sexuality are used – to meet the needs of the people in the local area.

Social workers also discussed how important it is to challenge discrimination in the workplace.

However, it was also agreed that young people are often very positive LGBT+ allies and can be great ambassadors when it comes to challenging discriminatory behaviour and promoting inclusion.

The next Virtual ISW Drop In is Thursday 17 March at 11am to coincide with Social Work Week which is 14-18 March. We are delighted to inform you that Dr Sharon Shoesmith will be presenting at this session.

To sign up, please email Lucy on or Dave on for the log in details.

Working Together For Children

Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work, psychological, psychiatric, therapeutic and family support services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

New Deprivation of Liberty court launch for children


A National Deprivation of Liberty Court dealing specifically with applications relating to deprive children of their liberty has been announced by Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division.

The court will deal with applications seeking authorisation to deprive children of their liberty and will be based at the Royal Courts of Justice under the [...]

Read Full Story

Independent review into CSE in Oldham finds child protection procedures were not followed


Some children have been failed by the agencies that were meant to protect them because child protection procedures had not been properly followed, an independent assurance review into historic child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oldham has found.

Evidence of poor practice was attributed to a structural flaw the review team found in the multi-agency system [...]

Read Full Story

Sixty Second Interview with Chloe Bach


Find out more about our Business Administrator Chloe Bach who has been with WillisPalmer since 2009.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee (oat milk latte)

What 3 things would you put in Room 101?

Migraines, slugs and war

What is your favourite place in the world?

Wherever my family is (but I do love New York)

If you were on death row what [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
WP Quality Assured

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram