Domestic violence social workers offer assistance to domestic abuse victims by coordinating whatever services they may need. All related positions are expected to grow at an average rate, and social workers as a whole can expect to make a median of roughly $42,000 per year.
Domestic violence social workers may help families find shelter, develop safety plans and access resources in order to escape the violence. They also may work to educate the public about domestic violence issues. This occupation calls for a bachelor's or master's degree in social work or another closely related field, such as psychology or sociology. Clinical social workers must have a master's degree, experience and a license to practice in their state.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in social work; master's degree required for clinical practice|
|Other Requirements||State licensing required for clinical practice|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||12% for all social workers; 6% for child, family and school social workers*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$42,350 for child, family and school social workers*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Domestic violence social workers offer assistance when an individual or family's safety is threatened by abuse in the home. They can work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, nonprofit-run shelters, transitional housing facilities, counseling centers, schools, or hospital emergency rooms. They can also help as the individual or family transitions out of volatile situations.
Social workers who offer domestic violence services may provide screening, risk assessment, and crisis intervention for victims and their children. This can include making referrals for other assistance or addressing the client's needs in areas like personal safety, physical and mental health, substance abuse, housing, employment, and child care. Conducting client and family interviews, as well as engaging clients in developing personal safety plans and obtaining restraining orders are also common duties.
Social workers in this area may be involved in public education and prevention efforts, with some specializing in the counseling and rehabilitation of abusers. The Associate of Social Work Boards notes that the level of service provided by an individual social worker often depends on their level of education and experience. For example, social workers with clinical licensure may conduct mental health assessments and offer social rehabilitation for clients.
Career Outlook and Salary
The BLS predicted that the employment for all social workers would grow 12% between 2014 and 2024. Child, family, and school social workers generally specialize in a particular area, such as domestic violence, and the BLS projected 6% growth for them over the same period. According to the BLS, the median salary for child, family, and school social workers was $42,350 in 2015. In the same year, the BLS reported that the median salary for mental health and substance abuse social workers was $42,170.
Domestic violence social workers need to hold a bachelor's degree for entry-level work, though a master's degree and licensure are required for clinical practice. While this career is often rewarding, it comes with the stress of helping others deal with traumatic situations. Patience, resilience and excellent communication skills are all essential for domestic violence social workers.