Social Justice Committee

The International Association of Forensic Nursing (IAFN) has identified social justice as one of the six pillars reflecting the core values of the organization. In early 2019, recognizing that the very nature of forensic nursing is grounded in social justice and that the IAFN is uniquely situated to promote social justice advocacy, IAFN developed and implemented an action plan to further solidify the objectives and strategies associated with the social justice pillar.

The committee seeks to:

  • Develop a social justice advocacy framework for forensic nurses
  • Review existing literature of social justice theory in nursing
  • Discuss organizational strengths, challenges, and gaps associated with IAFN’s evolution towards incorporation of a social justice advocacy framework/model.

NEW! Free Social Training – Implicit Bias

The Social Justice Committee is excited to host a live 3-hour training on the topic of Implicit Bias. CE credits will be provided. Space is limited; More information here!

IAFN’s Commitment

IAFN is committed to:
“Examine and identify gaps in both our understanding and our response to race-related violence toward our patients, within our profession, and with and amongst our community partners”
IAFN’s Social Justice Committee developed this page as one of the first steps of this process. Its purpose is to start conversation, empower with education, and provide up-to-date resources pertaining to Social Justice.

Social justice is the concept of ensuring that the inherent rights of all people are respected, regardless of characteristics or vulnerabilities. In contrast, social injustices and inequities occur based on specific characteristics or vulnerabilities. These may include, but are not limited to, a person’s race, ethnicity, economic status, citizenship, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, spirituality, disability, health status, and historical and structural oppressions — as well as the inequitable impacts of climate change and efforts that prohibit one from achieving their rightful status in society. Read more here.

IAFN’s Statement and Commitment on Police Brutality/Racism
IAFN’s Police Brutality Information and Resources

Words Matter – there are many words currently being used both in social media and within other environments. It is important that we understand the meaning of these words and phrases. Click here to access a term glossary from the Racial Equity Tools website.

Lay Definitions of Terms used in the IAFN Statement and Commitment:

  • Black Communities: Individuals with increased melanin levels in their skin from different backgrounds. Skin can appear various shades of brown or black in color. Black is an appropriate term, as not all people identify as African American or are of African descent. Persons may identify as belonging to “black communities.”
  • Police Brutality:
  • As defined as police-violence, “Intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation” (Obasogie & Newman, 2017).
    • Obasogie, O. & Newman, Z. Police violence, use of force policies, and public health. American Journal of Law & Medicine (2017): 279-295. DOI: 10.1177/0098858817723665
  • White privilege: This does not mean all white people have been privileged throughout their life and have been without challenge. It means that because of the color of their white skin, there are certain challenges they don’t experience, that exist for a person with black or brown skin.
    • This is does not have to be a negative thing, but its existence needs to be acknowledged. Once accomplished, that informs how we all move forward together.
    • Here is an example and explanation of white privilege in the negative: Op-Ed: Amy Cooper and the Power of White Supremacy | NowThis
    • Another negative example would be a white person choosing not to say anything after hearing a racist comment.
    • Here is an example of white privilege in the positive: In this picture taken during a protest, a white person wears a shirt that states “stand behind me if they start shooting”. This person knows that as a white person they are less likely to be shot than a black person during protests.
    • Another positive example would be: Posing the questions, “How can I help? What can I do?”, when hearing racist comments or seeing racist scenarios

Forensic Nurse Social Justice Resources






News Publications and Editorials:


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