Journal Article

Evidence-Based Practice: An Exploration of the Effectiveness of Voluntary Sector Services for Victims of Community Violence*

Karola Dillenburger, Montserrat Fargas and Rym Akhonzada

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 8, pages 1630-1647
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm071
Evidence-Based Practice: An Exploration of the Effectiveness of Voluntary Sector Services for Victims of Community Violence*

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While there is some debate about what should be considered submissible evidence, there is no doubt that evidence-based practice has become accepted as a benchmark for service delivery in almost all areas of social work. This is not yet the case in the voluntary sector. Yet, social workers and service users rely heavily on voluntary sector services. In this paper, the effectiveness of voluntary sector services for victims of community violence is explored. Using Northern Ireland as a case in point, a time-series study was carried out with seventy-five service users who completed a research inventory (including GHQ-30, BDI-II and PDS) up to four times across a nine to twelve-month period. Additional stressful life events that occurred during this time period were considered and social validity of services was assessed. The results showed that despite detrimental effects of additional life stresses, psychological health and depression scores improved for all service users. Some community-based services (befriending) and some complementary therapies (reflexology) were significantly related to these improvements. Changes in post-traumatic stress disorder symptom severity were not significant. Social validity data were strongly in favour of voluntary sector services.

Keywords: evidence-based practice; GHQ-30; BDI-II; PDS; DISC; community-based services; Northern Ireland; trauma; violence

Journal Article.  7301 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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