Anita Barišić, univ.spec. act.soc.
Teaching Assistant, Faculty of Law, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Osijek, Croatia
Miroslav Brkić, PhD
Full Professor, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Under Art. 3 of the Social Work Activity Act (NG 16/19) in the Republic of Croatia, representation, advocacy and empowerment are defined as the individual or group-oriented professional procedures in the social work activity. Representation, advocacy and empowerment are strategic processes of working with or on behalf of beneficiaries to achieve an equal position in society, the right to social services, or some other form of assistance that would not be available without them, which includes advocating for better social policy, better social legislation and social justice in society. Social workers can carry out different types of advocacy, such as legal and legislative advocacy, self-advocacy and advocacy systems. According to the principle of active participation, social workers represent clients’ best interests. One of the essential principles on which advocacy is based is empowerment. In the integration of understanding of the legal framework and advocacy through the academic year 2020/2021 at the Graduate School of Social Work at the Faculty of Law in Osijek, the course “Social Welfare Systems and Advocacy” was delivered for the first time. The course aimed to provide to students’ knowledge about different social welfare systems, critical analysis of these welfare systems, their evaluation and comparison with the social welfare system in the Republic of Croatia, and the acquisition of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills to represent clients’ interests in social work. This paper represents the advocacy process in social work that students worked on during the lecture. In addition to the concepts of advocacy in social work, this paper will show students’ self-assessment of acquired competencies for advocacy through education.

Keywords: advocacy in social work, empowerment, social justice, learning outcomes, competencies of social workers.

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