Session: Government-Commissioned Social Support Systems and Structural Violence (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

62 Government-Commissioned Social Support Systems and Structural Violence

Friday, January 13, 2023: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Paradise Valley, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Inequality, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy
Symposium Organizer:
Kathryn Bocanegra, PhD, Loyola University, Chicago
Julian Thompson, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
The symposium examines structural violence in government- commissioned social support initiatives. Structural violence is understood as the way in which social, economic, and political systems perpetuate inequality and disadvantage among certain populations resulting in an erosion of health, wellbeing, and lifespan. Central to the discussion of structural violence is racism, xenophobia and social class. Government- commissioned social support initiatives like child support, victim services, and behavioral health services have missions to promote the welfare and safety of vulnerable citizens via social services and legal interventions. The symposium interrogates this claim by presenting empirical research demonstrating unequal access to these government- sanctioned supports and unequal outcomes among those who do. Race, immigration status, and social class are reproduced by government systems, which in turn entrenches disadvantage among these already marginalized groups.

The effects of structural violence produced by government systems is first discussed in two studies examining child support systems and carceral pathways for noncustodial parents. The two presentations on child supports systems vary in their methodological approaches, one using a large quantitative dataset while the second study is based on thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with noncustodial fathers. Subsequently, the criminalization of survivors of urban gun violence is examined in an analysis of government-funded victim support services and associated legislation. A fourth study explores the implications of both direct and vicarious police contact for adolescent wellbeing overall using the Fragile Families dataset. Finally, drawing from semi-structured qualitative interviews the fifth study examines how justice involved black women experience myriad forms of structural violence via their involvement in behavioral health services post-incarceration.

The papers within this symposium exemplify a range of social work research methods and approaches to examine experiences of structural violence among individuals who have experienced harm via contact with government- commissioned social support systems. A solutions-focused discussion of the research implications is embedded within the presentations to identify multi-level strategies addressing the multiple and complex needs of noncustodial parents, survivors of violence, urban youth, and black women with justice involvement.

* noted as presenting author
The Criminalized Survivor: Examining Systems, Policies and Practices That Reproduce Harm
Kathryn Bocanegra, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
Exploring the Impact of Structural Violence: A Case Study of Cook County's Child Support System
Branden McLeod, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago; Kalen Flynn, PhD, MSW, MSSP, University of Illinois at Chicago
Extracurricular Engagement, Police Contact, and Adolescent Well-Being
Brenda Mathias, MSSA, University of California, Berkeley; Aaron Gottlieb, University of Illinois at Chicago; Kalen Flynn, PhD, MSW, MSSP, University of Illinois at Chicago
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