1. says


    I’m glad to have been able to connect you with Charles, so that you could connect him with the broader reach of your readers.

    I particularly liked what he said about intuition – that our body speaks to and for us – learning to listen is one of the key steps in staying safe.

  2. says

    Thanks again, Marianna – I am most grateful :)

    Charles has provided us all with so much priceless information about keeping safe!

    Yes, his advice about listening to our intuition was fascinating…and thanks for pointing out that this post may also be helpful for all those who interface with the public!

  3. Anonymous says

    He has written a book every single social worker should read. Sadly, those who teach social workers are living in a utopian worldview where no one gets angry, is on drugs or drunk, or who would ever cause violence toward a social worker. They see these dangerous people with total compassion instead of proper caution and that has lead to attcks, injury, rape and even death of the social worker. Your teachers are out of touch with the reality on the streets. If you are a social worker, or know one, get this book! It could save a life.

  4. says

    Dear Anonymous,

    I agree that every single social worker should either read Charles’ book and/or heed the advice he is giving here and in part two of this interview.

    However, I’m not sure that I would agree with the second part of your statement…I don’t think that those who teach social workers are necessarily living in utopia but rather they may (wrongly) assume that the agency/setting where a social worker is working will always provide social workers with adequate safety guidance.

    And this is sadly not true :(

  5. Anonymous says

    Great blog/interview; social worker classes need to talk about that more. I am looking forward to part 2 of the interview. keep it up!!

  6. says

    Listening to your intuition and paying attention to what your body is telling you is the number one safety lesson I’ve learned in my field work. Personally, I’m not usually afraid of what clients will do as much as I am other people in the building or neighborhood, but the lesson holds up. Every dangerous situation I’ve encountered has been one that I had a feeling about, but ignored. I’m finally at a point where I will skip a home visit, cross the street, or run (this has only happened once–all the gang members were running one way, so I went the opposite) and not care if someone on the street is a little insulted or thinks I’m crazy.

    It was good to hear that advice from a professional! Thanks :)

  7. says

    Thank you for being willing to share some of your learnings from the field.

    I think you’ve raised a very important additional safety concern that comes up particularly when one is working out in the field and that is – other people in the building or neighborhood.

    It’s wonderful to hear from you that listening to your intuition and what your body is telling you (an important tool that Charles has mentioned is all too often ignored) has been an effective method of addressing safety concerns in your neighborhood.

    And I’m totally with you – who cares if someone on the street thinks you’re crazy by changing directions in the way you are walking etc when listening to your intuition – you need to keep safe!

  8. says

    @Dorleem I work in CPS Investigations in NC, and this is the book my agency used in our safety training course. Pleasure to be connected to such a valuable resource. Will be adding a link to the interview and Safe Approach to Socialworkhelper

  9. says

    Hi Deona,

    Thanks for sharing your positive feedback and agency experience with using the Safe Approach book written by Charles Ennis.

    You are also most kind in adding a link to this interview at Socialworkhelper. That is most appreciated :)

  10. no one in particular says

    I have to say that as a social worker in child welfare and deals with many types of people, you have to be able to know yourself, your limits and your clients. And honestly some people just don’t have the skills to be social workers.
    I’ve been doing my job for ages and I think there is no preparing for what a client will do. I go in thinking today I’m going to either make someone happy or mad and how are they going to respond. A good social worker who knows their client will have a general idea of how their client will respond, positively or negatively. Then to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
    This does not mean to take things seriously. I’ve been threatened many times, too many to count, over my years and I can say 90% are said in the moment and the other 10% are the ones you need to worry about. But again, a good social worker will know the difference.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      I’m sorry to hear that you have been threatened many times… but relieved to hear that you seem to know how to handle the events and you are well.

      My personal belief is that we are all individuals “in progress” and can improve in one area or another. Therefore, the guidance provided in this post (or in part two) may be used to augment social worker wisdom for whomever finds it relevant/helpful :)

  11. L. P. says

    Things can go south so quickly…I did a home call once where the moment I stepped through the front door the parent locked the door behind me. I knew right away that I needed to leave as quickly as possible, but had to maneuver through several minutes of introductory conversation before the parent moved away from the door enough for me unlock it and step back out. The whole time my alarm bells were clanging in my head. I didn’t give the parent a chance to start talking, I just chattered up a storm, convincing the parent it was a bad time for them scheduled an in-office meeting, dropped a business card and left. Hindsight tells me it was scary, but in the moment I wasn’t aware of my own fear. I’m so thankful for the supervisor who taught me early on to pay attention to my “gut”.

    • says

      Hi L.P.,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. That sounds like that was very scary.

      How very brave and wise of you to have listened to your gut instinct and found a way to get out of the home visit before anything unsafe unhappened. And how wonderful for you to have had a supervisor who taught/encouraged you to listen to your gut.

      Sometimes in an effort to be polite and think of the other person’s feelings, we may ignore our gut feeling or be too afraid to listen to what it is telling us to do but you did it! Thanks again for sharing; we must all try our to hear and listen to our gut. It is often hears “danger” before our brain does…


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