Massachusetts governor signs legislation on Social Work Safety in the Workplace

By Paul R. Pace, News staff

Social workers and others in direct care settings in Massachusetts will be better protected from violence, thanks to the efforts led by the NASW Massachusetts Chapter and the Boston University School of Social Work.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law the NASW Massachusetts Social Work Safety in the Workplace bill in February.

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, seated, signs into law the NASW Massachusetts Social Work Safety in the Workplace bill in February.

It will require all programs that provide direct services to clients who are licensed, certified or funded by a department of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to have a workplace violence prevention and crisis response plan.

The new law is a victory in the campaign to protect the state’s social workers, said Carol Trust, executive director of the NASW Massachusetts Chapter.

“This bill raises awareness about the important and sometimes dangerous work that social workers perform in our communities and helps to reinforce the concept that government has a role to play in helping to ensure the safety of social workers and the advancement of the profession,” Trust said.

The legislation resulted from the work of a statewide Social Work Safety Task Force launched in 2008 by the NASW chapter and the Boston University School of Social Work. Its creation was a reaction to the death of Diruhi Mattian, a 53-year-old social worker who was stabbed by one of her clients during a home visit.

The task force included members of Massachusetts’ schools of social work, employers, union representatives and health departments.

“Passing this bill solidified the important work of the task force and will make social workers and other workers in direct care settings safer anywhere they work across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Trust said.

From the May 2013 NASW News. NASW members click here to read the full story.

One comment

  1. This legislation is great since violence against social workers should be stopped. Having a plan of action to prevent this type of violence is an absolute must for safety!

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