Convenors: Sarah Banks ( and Ana M. Sobočan (

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Description and aims

The SWERG (Social Work Ethics Research Group) is dedicated to researching ethics in social work practice, involving aspects such as ethics and professional identity, ethical decision-making, the role of virtue ethics, professional wisdom, ethical dilemmas, ethics education etc. The aims of SWERG are to explore these perspectives in international contexts, with their specific education traditions and social policy frameworks. The validity and relevance of such research rests also on including cross-national and cross-institutional perspectives – and these can be reached through collaboration of researchers across countries. The SWERG group members believe that establishing an ESWRA SIG facilitates an establishment of a pan-European (and wider) network of researchers interested in social work ethics.

The aims of the SWERG SIG in the short term are to develop a strong SIG membership base to initiate exchanges of research interests, projects, methods and results in the field of ethics in social work. Steadily we hope to establish a wider network of researchers and generate joint research endeavours, among other activities (such as small conferences, seminars, joint publications etc.).  SWERG is usually organises a workshop/symposium at the annual European Conference for Social Work Research, and sometimes a Pre-conference event.  

Recent work

  1. Research on professional ethical identity

Members of the group held symposia at several ESWRA conferences and worked together to explore the theme of ‘professional ethical identity’ in social work. This resulted in an article in the journal Ethics and Social Welfare:

In Conversation with a Case Story: Perspectives on Professionalism, Identity and Ethics in Social Work (2020)

  1. Research project: Ethical challenges for social workers during Covid-19

Members of SWERG worked in partnership with the International Federation of Social Workers to conduct an international survey on ethical challenges for social workers during Covid-19. The survey was conducted in May 2020, and received 607 responses from 54 countries. A small grant was received for this work from Durham University (UK) ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. Members of the group are now looking at ethical challenges post-pandemic. For further details contact:  Various publications have been produced from the research, including:

Report giving an overview of the findings:

An open access article in the journal, International Social Work:

Ethical guidance for practising during pandemic conditions:

A resource comprising vignettes (cases) for use by students, educators and practitioners

  1. ‘Co-building a new eco-social world: leaving no one behind’ – people’s summit 2022

SWERG is a partner with IFSW and others in working towards a people’s summit to be held online, 29 June-1 July 2022. This initiative was stimulated by the experience of the inequities highlighted by Covid-19 and the growing crisis generated by climate change. Details can be found here:

Steering group of the SWERG SIG:

Sarah Banks (United Kingdom)

Teresa Bertotti (Italy)

Ed de Jonge (Netherlands)

Sabrina Keinemans (Netherlands)

Ana M. Sobočan (Slovenia)

Michelle Hei Yan Shum (Hong Kong)

Jane Shears (UK)

Kim Strom (United States)

María Jesús Úriz (Spain)

Merlinda Weinberg (Canada)