Critically discuss how social workers can use anti-oppressive practice to counter the stigma and discrimination experienced by service users and carers.

Module Code: MOD003113

The absolute last day to consult or send in any formative work (up to 800 words)
Please read the following instructions and guidance carefully. A video containing this information is also available. If you are unsure about any aspect of this assignment, please inform your module tutor or leader so that we can assist you.
The maximum word limit is 3,000 words (excluding in-text references)
If you wish, you can include a graph or a table (not included in the word count) to add weight to an argument.

 As a starting point, choose, from the list below, a service user group to base your entire assignment on.
mental health older adults looked after children and care leavers offending and probation
children in need drug and alcohol learning difficulties physical and sensory difficulties

Being a service user means that we can identify and recognise that we share a lot of experiences with a wide range of other people who use services. This might include, for example, young people with experience of being looked after in care, people with learning difficulties, mental health service users, older people, physically and/or sensory impaired people, people using palliative care services and people with drug and alcohol problems.
(National User Network as cited in SCIE 2004)

 You then need to address the following topics as they relate to your chosen service user group.
Part 1: With particular reference to social inequalities in health, demonstrate how life course perspectives can help social workers understand the well-being of a specific service user group.
Part 2: With reference to the same service user group, critically discuss how social workers can use mutual aid, and at least one other method, to take an anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory approach to counter forms of stigma and discrimination faced by this group. LO 1 and 2

LO 3 and 4 1,500 words maximum

1,500 words maximum
Your assignment will be marked against the module learning outcomes 1-4.
Learning Outcomes
This module is taught on the basis of the learning outcomes published below. The learning outcomes are statements of what you should have learnt by the time you come to the end of the module. To successfully complete the module, that is to pass it, you will need to demonstrate that you have met all of the learning outcomes. The assessment task for the module is designed to help you do this.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding 1. Demonstrate how life course perspectives can be used to help social workers understand the well-being of service users and carers.

2. Analyse the impact of social inequalities and injustice on health and well-being.

Intellectual, practical, affective and transferable skills

3. Demonstrate understanding of the methods social workers can use to address social inequalities in health and promote well-being.

4. Critically discuss how social workers can use anti-oppressive practice to counter the stigma and discrimination experienced by service users and carers.

These learning outcomes can be understood in the following ways:
Learning Outcome 1:
For this learning outcome you should choose a service user group (e.g. disabled people, people with mental health problems, etc.) and show how life course perspectives can be used to understand their well-being.
Learning Outcome 2:
To meet this learning outcome, you should show how social inequalities and injustice, particularly inequalities, affect people’s health and well-being. You should do this with reference to the same service user group. Be sure to give an analysis of the causes of those health inequalities.
Learning Outcome 3:
For this learning outcome you should discuss how social workers can tackle the problems you have addressed in discussing Learning Outcomes 1 and 2. For instance, social isolation, poverty and lack of autonomy are all bad for people’s well-being; so how can mutual aid and another method of your choice be used to counter these problems for the same service user group. The Learning Outcome requires you to be critical so give a balanced assessment of the methods
Learning Outcome 4:
To meet this Learning Outcome you should, first, show how the service user group is affected by stigma and discrimination and then discuss how social workers can use anti-oppressive practice to challenge that. The Learning Outcome requires you to be critical so give a balanced assessment of how far social workers can do this, given the constraints of current practice context (For example high caseloads, thresholds, etc.).
As with all assignments, it is strongly recommended that you follow the guidance below. This will help you comprehend the instructions and structure your essay.
Part 1 of the assignment covers three areas:
• Social inequalities in health
• Life course theory
• Well-being
Social inequalities in health – LO 2 (450 words)
Analyse the impact of social inequalities and injustice on health and well-being.
 Briefly describe what is meant by social inequalities in health and illustrate this by giving an example, based around the service user, of the forms and scale of them. You can do this by, for example, showing ‘health gaps’ between rich and poor or social gradients which show differences between groups across the social spectrum.

 Briefly discuss the causes of health inequalities. Here, you should show that you are aware that the causes are complex e.g. how different causes interrelate. Focus your analysis on how two of the causes below affects service users’ and carers’ lives.

Material poverty: people living on low incomes in unhealthy environments.
Behavioural: that poor people are more likely to lead unhealthy ‘lifestyles’. A key question here is why this happens.
Status: the psycho-social impact of social inequality on poor people and their related lack of autonomy and social participation.
Please note – you do not have to place equal emphasis on the causes you discuss.
The Life Course – LO1 (450 words)
Demonstrate how life course perspectives can be used to help social workers understand the well-being of service users and carers.
 Briefly describe what life course perspectives are and show how they can be applied to help social workers understand how service users are affected by health inequalities. The general concern is the cumulative impact social inequality and injustice have on service users and carers over the course of their lives. Also, remember that life course perspectives can be used to project forwards and/or retrospectively, e.g. with care leavers it can help to understand how their history in childhood brought them to their current situation and, from that, their likely future development.

 Pick 1 area to critically discuss (articles can be found on the reading list):
Critical Period and Accumulation of Risk models discussed by Bywaters (chapter 13) which can be found in Lymbery and Postle (2007). Whilst dated, this is a useful source.

Transitions and trajectories discussed by Dornan & Woodhead (2015)

Well-being – LO 1 and 2 (450 words)
 Briefly define well-being. Then, analyse the impacts and influences of specific social inequalities in health and life course perspectives to the service users’ well-being. The general issue linking health inequalities, the life course and well-being is the interrelationship of physical and psychological health and how they are ‘socially determined’. How people feel, and their mental well-being, will influence both their physical health and their behaviour, all of which is related to social status (see e.g. Friedli, 2009; Marmot, 2010; Bywaters 2016).

Part 2 of the assignment covers two areas:
• Anti-oppressive practice
• Social work methods/approaches

Anti-oppressive practice – LO 4 (750 words)
Critically discuss how social workers can use anti-oppressive practice to counter the stigma and discrimination experienced by service users and carers.
 Briefly define and discuss the causes of stigma and discrimination. Then, discuss the extent to which the service user group lacks power and autonomy (both affect well-being). It may be helpful to consider self-stigma.

 Discuss the ways in which service users and/or carers often play a leading role in challenging stigma and discrimination as in the disabled people’s movement campaign for the social model of disability. Relate this to your chosen service user group.

 Critically discuss how social workers can incorporate anti-oppressive (AOP) and anti-discriminatory practice (ADP) into their overall practice in an attempt to counter forms of stigma, discrimination and a lack of well-being faced by the service user. It may be helpful to consider theories such as Thompson’s approach to anti-discriminatory practice, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory or Dominelli’s approach to anti-oppressive practice.

Social Work Methods/Approaches – LO 3 (750 words)
Demonstrate understanding of the methods social workers can use to address social inequalities in health and promote well-being.
 Focusing on the forms of ill-health and lack of well-being in your earlier discussion, how can the method of mutual aid be used to promote resilience, recovery and well-being for the service user group? Here, it may be helpful to recognise that service users and carers are ‘experts by experience’ and can, and do, play an active part in overcoming their difficulties. You should also discuss how social workers can support this by seeking to promote resilience and recovery.

 Identify and explore another method that a social worker can use to try to promote the well-being of people within the service user group.

 Critically discuss how and why social workers might experience difficulties using these methods in practice with the service user group. E.g. managing high caseloads, cuts in service, a lack of awareness; etc.

Remember to write a brief introduction outlining the areas you will be covering and a brief conclusion which pulls together your most salient points.

For more information on service users refer to

Additional information:

Level 6 writing skills
Please concentrate on ‘depth’ as opposed to ‘breadth’.

• Number your pages
• Put SID Number on each page
• Font: Arial 12
• Line spacing: 2.0 (double)
• Allow time to proof-read your final draft


• Use a variety of sources to deepen your discussion.
• Be sure to reference appropriately. See the On-line Library Guide:

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