South African Social Workers’ Lived Experiences of Client Violence




Social workers, clients, workplace violence, client violence


Studies on the workplace protection of social workers indicate that this group is at high risk of being subjected to client violence during their careers. In this article, we report on the qualitative phase of a larger study investigating client violence among South African social workers. The objective of this study was to explore South African social workers’ experiences of client violence. We used a purposively selected sample to identify participants for semi-structured qualitative interviews. The data were analysed by implementing Tesch’s approach of thematic analysis. The primary themes that emerged are normalising client violence, identifying precursors to violence, defining elements in the process and the aftermath of client violence. These themes and related subthemes were used to construct a conceptual model to better understand the client violence in the delivery of social work services in South Africa. We conclude with recommendations for further research in this area.


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How to Cite

Pretorius, Luce, and Alida Glaudina Herbst. 2022. “South African Social Workers’ Lived Experiences of Client Violence”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34:20 pages.
Received 2021-07-13
Accepted 2022-07-13
Published 2022-11-30