Title Page varies with type of report. May be “Social Work report to court”, details of the organization the social worker is employed by. Dated and marked confidential (although may not be treated as such).
The report should then list identifying data about the client.
Date of Birth: (Age)
Other brief background information: eg. Then expanded personal details of the client and family and significant others if appropriate.
The purpose of the report including who requested it if relevant, and the sources of the information used for the report.
Then your qualifications, your role and experience in the agency or department in which you are engaged and any evidence available to demonstrate to the court that you are qualified to present this report.
a) Then the Body of the Report. Use headings and structured paragraphs.
b) Start with a brief summary of what report will contain (NOT “index”)
c) Then details about the Social Work contact with the client, how it came about (whether already client at time of offence or subsequently) including date(s) of client’s attendance and attitude including any missed appointments.
d) Relevant background/significant social history as known to you – don’t rely on other’s information. Include BRIEF information about the client’s version of the events which led to them appearing in Court. Address pertinent issues only, don’t go into detail about alleged crime, this is not your role.
e) Then specific headings varying in regard to the particular case. These may include:
f) Education and employment or work experience or lack of.
g) Health, including mental health and any substance problems that impact on this.
h) Financial situation eg. Source of income, dependants for budgeting etc. that might impact on the actions taken by client.
i) Then your professional assessment of the relevance of the client’s background to his/her current situation including facts that you consider are relevant to her/his actions.
j) Conclusion and recommendations to the Court about what actions might be relevant in respect to the defendant and useful for the court in coming to its decision particularly re sentencing or future treatment options. (Separate opinions from facts)
All the relevant facts should be presented in a professional and respectful manner. The report should be concise and free from bias. It should be accurate, and evidence should be presented to support conclusions and assessments.
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