Putting Social Advocacy Skills into Action

Putting Social Advocacy Skills into Action

Putting Social Advocacy Skills into Action

Analyzing Social Problems

Homicide Rates in the United States, and the Implemented Policy

How homicide is incongruent with social work values/ethics

Homicide rates in the United States are reported to have been high since 1980. There has been a

slight decline since the year 2000. However, about sixteen thousand homicides are reported to have

occurred in the United States in 2013(Sipsma et al., 2017). Some recent studies show that the United States

homicide rate is 25 times that of its peer nations. As a result of this homicide concern, a social work

perspective on identifying, preventing, and addressing this issue is greatly important. The social work

values framework applies a violence prevention approach through using multidisciplinary data to handle

this concern. Moreover, social work provides for recognizing the risks, and developing protective factors

and preventive strategies.

Background and actions taken to address homicide.

A recent study, and from Federal Bureau of Investigation data, illustrate that a higher rate of

homicide nationwide has been recorded over the past three decades. In 2015, approximately thirty-six

thousand people were reported to have died due to this homicide rate; this is about seventeen percent of all

injury-related deaths recorded in that same year. Although the homicide rates are high in the United States,

about two-thirds of these cases are estimated to be victims of firearm violence; therefore, this has created

an abiding concern on gun violence. Nonetheless, as a result of research findings, the government greatly

assisted the poor as this proved to reduce the homicide rates significantly. Much of these researches were

conducted more than twenty-five years ago. However, given the current homicide rates showing different

patterns since 1990, this prompts additional efforts to deal with the homicide rates.

How Victims of homicide changed over time


Linda Samuel
Good focus on the history and introduction of the social problem.


Some studies show that homicide mainly affects young adults aged between 15 to 24 years. These

individuals are primarily male and non-Hispanic black individuals. Moreover, the communities with high

minority, with the excellent unemployment rate and poverty, show a tendency of these high homicide

rates. Over the years, lower social capital levels and increased income inequality have been recognized as

the leading cause of increased violence.

Policy area related to Homicide.

It is evident that in 1995, the Office of Justice Programs funded a comprehensive homicide

initiative. The strategy applied in this initiative was to reduce the homicide rate in local communities

(Finucane, 2018). The policy of the comprehensive homicide initiative was designed to be executed in

two-phase. The first phase is planning, which dealt with developing a process that examines the local

homicide-related problems. The outcome of this phase was to develop a multifaceted strategy that would

address the local homicide problem. The second phase is an implementation, which was first crafted and

set in Richmond, California.

Jurisdiction of the Policy

The Comprehensive Homicide Initiative is a combination of federal, local, and state statutes. Most

importantly, it represents a restrictive state-level statute on firearms, for example, a strong background

check and bans on some of the military assault weapons. In addition, this legislature is associated more

with creating less firearm-related violence. However, the strategy developed in the Comprehensive

Homicide Initiative forges community-based non-enforcement and enforcement strategies.

Different aspects of the policy

Linda Samuel

What policy supports this initiative? List at least one of these statues (official name).
Linda Samuel
At this point, be sure to clearly identify the official name of the policy.

The initiative is grouped into two broad categories, and the first category is community-based non-

enforcement strategies. This category is defined for the collaboration with the community. Moreover, the

Housing Authority was also involved as a part of the planning process of crime-reduction. This category

also provided for the establishment of computer centers in forging job skills training. In addition, it is

defined as the collaboration of the juvenile justice system. The aim was to develop a youth court.

The second category is investigative and enforcement strategies based on making homicide

prevention efforts more effective. The first step defined in this category was developing intensified team

approach in obtaining information. This information would be on the high-profile homicides (Fyfe et al.,

1997). The second step is FBI assistance on the old and unsolved homicide review. The third step defined

obtaining the Drug Enforcement Administration support, and lastly, the fourth step was improving the

technology and information sharing.

Duration of current policy has been in place.

The state government first implemented the Comprehensive Homicide Initiative in the late 1980s

and early 1990s. Richmond was the first large city to experience its implementation; this resulted in

Richmond suffering economic difficulties and a rise in drug-related violence; this was a standard issue to

most urban jurisdictions during that period.

Supporters and opposers of the policy

The initiative gained support and cooperation efforts from the Richmond Police department—

Richmond was the first city to implement the initiative. The cooperation of the police task force created a

protocol for battered women and domestic violence. The members of this partnership implemented

strategies that interrupted gun trafficking. The traditional reasoning on homicide created for the little

efforts that the police could make to combat homicide. This traditional reasoning provided that crime was

immune from the suppression efforts of the police. Hence, this resulted in opposition from some of the


Changes/amendments made to the policy.

The most significant change to the Comprehensive Homicide Initiative was on the perception of

Homicide; this meant that the initiative enhanced the perception of homicide as part of a more significant

and more general issue of violence (Messner, 1982). Therefore, the initiative recognized the police and

other stakeholders how they viewed this problem was narrow. Broadening the conceptualization of this

issue influenced the recommendation developed to address this issue. Homicide was separated from other

serious but nonfatal assaults. Therefore, the view of homicide as part of a much general violence issue

created clarity to this issue, impeding an effective homicide strategy.

Effects of this policy on clients and the importance of advocating for change.

The initiative may lead to the clients being concerned with the gun safety issue. Therefore, social

workers should address safe storage practices to prevent accidental injury. An example of a safety concern

is a safe passage to school programs. The discussions of guns are considered as an intrusion of the rights of

some clients. Therefore, this might lead to resistance from the clients. The reason is that asking about the

client’s access to a gun can be mistaken as questioning if they disobey the law.

Practicing social workers offer neutral policy suggestions so as to not damage the therapeutic

alliance. A social worker needs to take a particular position on the implemented policies on gun control or

a specific interpretation of the second amendment; this is important because it may help a client from

intentional or accidental gun violence. Therefore, a clinical social worker needs to engage in such

discussions to prevent injury and safety.


Linda Samuel
You provided some great information about programs and initiatives; however, it is important to include the official name(s) of the policy and/or policies that govern and/or support the initiative.



Finucane, A. (2018). Social Work Practice and Gun Safety in the United States: Are We Doing Enough?

Patricia Logan-Greene Mickey Sperlich.


Fyfe, J. J., Goldkamp, J. S., & White, M. D. (1997). Strategies for reducing homicide: The comprehensive

homicide initiative in Richmond, California.


Messner, S. F. (1982). Poverty, inequality, and the urban homicide rate: Some unexpected findings.

Criminology; an Interdisciplinary Journal, 20(1), 103–114.

Sipsma, H. L., Canavan, M. E., Rogan, E., Taylor, L. A., Talbert-Slagle, K. M., & Bradley, E. H. (2017).

Spending on social and public health services and its association with homicide in the USA: an

ecological study. BMJ Open, 7(10), e016379.