Forensic Social Work is a skill set comprised of essential legal and social work concepts attained by social work practitioners or social work students through formal training or professional development. Forensic Social Work in Canada is not a professional designation (at this time). It is a unique and intriguing field of social work practice.
As an emerging sub-specialty, our suite of specialized services and training programs are offered by professionals practicing in the field of either social work, law or both. We are highly skilled individuals who work as lawyers, social workers, educators, professional mentors, and consultants to the courts, private and professional organizations, government and corporations. —when it comes to specialized services and training we are the professionals you want.
As professionals in the industry, we provide the best training, guidance and service you deserve. Whether you are seeking a strategic alliance or plan to develop and enhance a special skill set, call us today. Together we will create and refine your goals for success. We didn’t get here alone, and neither will you.
Contact us today at email@example.com to discuss how we can help.
Be a part of this exciting and emerging sub-speciality in the field of social work practice. Learn the law that is essential to social work practice. Develop practical skills in forensic social work advocacy, investigation, testimony as an expert witness, assessment and much more.
Unlock an Exciting Career
The possibilities are endless when you have people who are committed to providing you with the very best service, training and support.
The Institute is the brainchild of Shawna Paris-Hoyte who is a practicing lawyer, clinical social worker and forensic social work consultant and educator in Canada. After years of simultaneous practice in both professions, Shawna saw the need for lawyers to gain an understanding of social work concepts, theories and approaches and for social workers to enhance their understanding of the law relevant to social work practice.
Shawna is a highly regarded and sought-after interdisciplinary and inter-professional practitioner in clinical and forensic Social work where her focus is on mental health and addictions, and her clinical specialty is depression care, anxiety and trauma. She is also a well known and reputable family law, criminal law and human rights social justice advocate and lawyer.
As an educator, she teaches clinical law practice, cross-cultural studies, law and social work, social work and diversity in Canada and Human Development and Environments at several universities in Canada.
As a current PhD student, her doctoral research and studies in social work focus on the trans-generational transmission of trauma and the impact on the biopsychosocial development of African Canadians and Indigenous Black Canadians.
Shawna has experience in cultural competency consulting working with many NGO’s, government and grassroots and community-based organizations by assisting in program development and implementation, for marginalized populations.
Shawna's Clinical and Forensic Practice Framework is anti-oppressive, feminist, culturally competent interventions that are trauma informed, client and solution focused and employing a critical thinking and race lens.
Program Development: Cultural Competency Education and Program Development, Race and Culture Equity- Policy Development, Human Development and Environments, Corrections Programming, Court Reports and Assessments - Race and Culture Impact Assessment, Parental Capacity and Access Reports in Family Law, Criminal Law and Child Protection Cases.
Photo by Megan Mahon
Clinical - Psychotherapy
Specialties: * Trauma * Anxiety * Depression
Issues: crisis intervention, school and social anxiety, life transitions, suicidal ideation, coping, relationship, couples counselling, parent & child conflict, domestic violence and abuse, grief, self-esteem.
Mental Health: mood disorders, personality disorders.
Treatment Approach: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-based (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution-focused Therapy (SFT), Attachment Regulation and Competency (ARC), Relational therapy, Trauma-focused.
Assessments: Consultation on Race and Culture reports, parental capacity, access reports and child wishes statements.
Modality: in person - individuals and group.
Twenty-two years practice in Family Law, Child Protection Law, Criminal Law, Youth Justice Law and Human Rights.
*Appear at all levels of court and tribunals including the Supreme Court of Canada ( R. v. L.T.H. SCC, 2008).
*Trial Consultant: specific to issues of race and culture, trial prep, relevant assessments and reports.
*Assessments: cultural competency consulting on Impact of Race and Culture reports, parental capacity assessments, access reports and child wishes statements.
*Clinical Instructor – third-year law students in the above-noted areas of practice.
*Adjudicator/Chair –Residential Tenancies Board, Assessment Appeal Court, Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act Board.
*Mediator/ Conflict Resolution – Child welfare cases, family matters, community relations, workplace conflict, parent-child conflict.
Consultant & Program Development
*Correctional Services program development for staff and inmates.
*Community Reintegration Programming.
*Trial Consultation specific to race and culture cases.
*Consultation with lawyers and social workers on family and criminal court reports and assessments specific to race and culture.
*Forensic Social Work consultation.
Dalhousie University and University of Calgary – Schools of Social Work
*Law and Social Work
*Diversity in Canada
*Human Development and Environments
*Clinical Law - DLAS
Current research and studies in social work focus on the transgenerational transmission of trauma and the impact on the biopsychosocial development of African Canadians.
Awards & Honors
The Honorable Justice Bertha Wilson Honor Society Inductee, October 17, 2014.
Nova Scotia Legal Aid, Service Recognition Award, October 15, 2014
Shawna has a small private practice as a counsellor/therapist and legal navigator. If you have an interest in accessing her services, please click the button below. All contact is confidential and private.
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