Melissa completed her Bachelor of Social Work (Honours – First Class)/Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) at RMIT in 2016. Her honours thesis, titled: ‘Human-Animal Bond Social Work Practice: Applying a feminist animal care ethic to companion animal grief and loss’ sparked her passion for research into expansion of social work to include non-human family members.
Her doctoral research continues the theme of exploring the exclusion of non-humans from the human services, by investigating the way that life with a companion animal impacts service users’ experiences with social workers. She does so by looking at two areas of practice with vulnerable groups– women at risk of, or experiencing homelessness—and the way that social workers subvert anthropocentrically limited practice guidelines in acknowledgement and support of this important relationship.
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social work, feminsm, animal rights, non-human family, homelessness