Integrating Indigenous approaches and relationship-based ethics for culturally safe interventions: Child protection in Solomon Islands

Lester J Thomspon, David Wadley - International Social Work


Traditional culture in post-colonial Solomon Islands is experiencing neoliberal impositions of market forces and individualistic social work programmes based upon global welfare rights. Previous research has emphasised culturally derived national resilience and the economic benefits of ‘Kastom’. Emergent research questions are (a) whether Indigenous social work could avoid absolute (colonial) impositions or negligent cultural relativism by using relationship-based ethical approaches that emphasise cultural strengths, and (b) whether this development might benefit Pacific social welfare models. Qualitative interviews with local child protection workers indicate that traditional values assist legislative intervention and that significant potential exists in better integration of Indigenous approaches into practice.