Critical and Radical Social Work
An international journal

Targeting the ‘hard to reach’: re/producing stigma?

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  • 1 Flinders University, , Australia
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Social service providers, policy makers and researchers are increasingly ‘targeting the hard to reach’. Ostensibly, targeting the hard to reach appears to be an innocuous and logical, if not laudable goal. From a critical social work perspective, however, it may be seen to pose some hazardous possibilities for oppressed and stigmatised groups, particularly in the context of welfare austerity. Our discussion responds to, and is organised by, five key questions: (1) How do we understand critical social work and welfare austerity? (2) Who usually gets constituted as hard to reach? (3) Why target hard-to-reach groups? (4) What hazardous possibilities may occur in the process of targeting? and (5) How might critical social workers engage and support the hard to reach without re/producing stigma?

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