Shahnaz Perveen cover photo
I work at: Social Service Agency in Ottawa
Domestic abuse (men, women, youth, children and elder population)

I am south Asian. I came to Canada as a permanent resident. After I landed in Toronto, I started my social work journey. My first place to meet social workers was “Education Wife Assault.” I stared volunteering with them. Later, I worked in a number of small projects. I believe in equal rights.

I am the middle child in my family. My beloved parents believed in every child should be educated. My parents’ inspiration was my source of success.

I was involved in many organizations as a social activist, including those devoted to women’s rights and women’s empowerment. I have worked with vulnerable groups, especially with women and children, youth and seniors throughout my life. My education and work experience have driven me to social work as a career, but my personal experience has shaped me as an individual and a professional.

I started volunteering in Toronto, with three major issues: domestic violence, sexual orientation and women with disabilities. As a volunteer I was able to gain new skills that aided my personal and professional development. Over the years I learned about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) identity and gender independent identity. I learnt about lesbianism and its role as a part of the culture, how lesbian families are growing and where challenges remain, especially challenges in raising a child in a lesbian family unit. I am an ally.

I was involved in a homelessness study with a Multi-Agency Partnership in Toronto. I was able to learn firsthand the experiences of the homeless and about the lack of affordable housing.

I connect these firsthand experiences to my practice as a transition and housing support counselor in Ottawa. My main role is to seek affordable and safe housing for abused women and children. Most of the women and children I work with come from a wide variety of cultural and religious backgrounds and speak different languages. These women and children are newcomers with refugee status and have come from war-torn countries.


Professional Practice Framework (PPF)


My inner experience has led to me slowly developing my own framework of anti-oppression as a human being. Therefore, my practice framework will include challenge for structural change within a framework of anti-oppression where my knowledge and practice come together with the aspects of who am I as a person. It shapes how people view me and how I see others.  I follow closely the empowerment approach in order to lend my hands to other.


Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) suggest that  “the social work profession is dedicated to the welfare and self-realization of all people…The profession has a particular interest in the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and/or living in poverty” (CASW, 2005, p.3). This quote is from the preamble of the CASW Code of Ethics. Empowerment emphasizes social justice principles such as inclusive, equality and understanding oppression. Several aspects of empowerment theory include sharing power, consciousness raising, and partnership (East, 2016). I use empowerment theory as an intervention model. I engage clients in intrapersonal, and interpersonal to change (East, 2016, p.373).


As I just explored, my approach is closer to humanistic which means I am client-centered. My goal is to help others develop a stronger, healthier sense of self, and to understand their feelings to develop sense in terms of meaning in life. I always focus on two basic principles: (1) clients’ individual strengths and (2) being non-judgmental. Rothery and Tutty (2016) note the essential qualities of the client-centered theory are the Rogerian core conditions: congruence (genuineness), acceptance and empathy.Congruence is “interpersonal genuineness, honesty, and directness” (p.302). This happens when a social worker has self-awareness about the feelings that they are experiencing and is able to live with these feelings and to communicate them if appropriate. Acceptance creates a context for growth through “unconditional positive regard” which means a positive attitude about them as people unaffected by our reactions to how they feel or what they may have done (p.302). Empathy refers to the social worker grasping “accurately and sensitively the emotional content and meanings” that are implied in what the client is saying (p. 302).

My area of expertise is Violence Against Women (VAW) and Children who witness violence. VAW is one of the major issues in many countries including Canada. There are many factors that cause violence in the family, community and society. Power differential is one of them; women and children who usually lack power are the main victim of violence, and men are the predominant perpetrators of violence. Interventions is necessary to break this cycle of violence. The psychological consequences of violence are severe and destructive and can last lifetime (CMHA, 1995).


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1705 orléans boulevard orléans on

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