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Mission Statement

This group has been established to gather and consider evidence on crucial questions of sex and gender identity in order to inform professional discussion.

This group believes that there is insufficient knowledge to support policies and practice that have been adopted without prior debate and discussion within the profession.

Policies and practice must be founded on professional values and developed on the basis of evidence. In relation to sex and gender we are concerned that there has been an unhealthy silencing of professional discussion, with many social work academics and practitioners feeling that they are unable to ask questions or challenge policies which have adopted outside of consultation and discussion.

We believe that this silencing of discussion is not in the best interests of the people to whom we are responsible and not in the interests of the profession. When professional concerns are not expressed and openly discussed, and practitioners and academics are afraid to challenge, we are jeopardising basic safeguarding principles, and safe professional practice.

EBSWA believes that our professional Code of Ethics as social workers mandates and requires us to explore the evidence and to contribute to professional debate and discussion.


Our aims are to:

  • Discuss our professional responsibilities as social workers in relation to practice in this area

  • Gather, consider and share evidence

  • Promote professional openness and a safe context for this to take place

  • Defend the right to challenge and question and practice which are adopted without an adequate evidence base.

  • Ask the regulators in all four countries of the UK to facilitate the calm consideration of evidence and make it clear that threats, bullying and intimidation of social workers acting in good faith to fulfil our ethical responsibilities will not be tolerated and will not be used to silence criticism and challenge

  • Challenge our professional association BASW in each country of the UK to review policy and practice on the basis of a transparent evidence base and to support all social workers attempting to defend evidence based practice

  • Ask academics to help support work to gather and consider evidence, including new research on the impacts of policies and practice adopted within social work

  • Share our concerns and work with those from allied professions

We will be seeking constructive dialogue with leaders and regulators to encourage them to act responsibly in responding to our concerns and those of critics of transgender theory in related professions such as teaching, health, and academia

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