Social workers spend a lot of times with families, listening to their problems and aiding them to solve those. They are attentive to signs of domestic abuse, or other signals that indicate the family is struggling. At the same time, the families that are in trouble, are also pretty good at hiding their issues.
Often there is more information available about a family than social workers know of. One specific incident doesn’t have to be alarming, but if the different institutions would share all the small concerns, debts or accidents they know of, co-workers could combine all those little incidents to form a much better incentive to intervene and offer the help the family needs.”
The Verwijsindex is an online tool that enables social workers to access this information more easily. The goal of the application was not to educate social workers but rather to raise awareness for this tool. We did so by sending the viewer on a house-visit through VR. During this house-visit, they would witness a family discussing noise-complaints that were filed by the neighbors.
Based on the behavior of the family the viewer might not get suspicious. But at the end of the experience, all the different sources of information that would have been available through the Verwijsindex are highlighted. Emphasizing that there is a lot more information out there that can help social workers during house-visits.
This virtual reality experience will be part of training for social workers in the municipality of Rotterdam.