Emergency Social Work Service

What does this service offer?

The aim of the Regional Emergency Social Work Service (RESWS) is to provide an emergency social work service outside normal office hours, – after 5pm Monday to Friday, weekends and public/bank holidays- for emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day.

People in crisis include:

  • Children and young people
  • Older people
  • People with mental health problems
  • People with learning disabilities
  • People with physical disabilities
  • Families and carers of all these groups.

Other situations that RESWS can deal with:

  • An out of hours service for homeless people on behalf of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) by providing temporary accommodation in the cases of priority need. We do not need with housing applications, repairs or transfers.
  • A service on behalf of Social Security Agency in emergency only situations out side normal office hours.

Service Availability

The service is available outside normal office hours including weekend and public holidays. These are:

Monday to Thursday 5pm-9pm

Friday – Monday 5pm to 9amon Monday.

There is 24 our cover over public holidays.

Contacting the Regional Emergency Social Work Service

When you contact this service your call will be answered by a Switchboard operator who will take a few details from you such as your contact details and the nature of your call. The telephonist will then pass your details to one of the Social Workers who will ring you back. All Social Workers are experienced in dealing with emergency and crisis situations.

If you have hearing difficulties you can communicate with the service through, e-mail or text.

What happens next?

The Social Worker will then either:

  • Provide advice and guidance to assist you in dealing with the emergency
  • Arrange to provide necessary services
  • Recommend that you contact another agency
  • Refer to your local office on the next working day.
  • Visit to make an assessment of the emergency


All contacts with the service will be passed to the relevant social services /NIHA/SSA office on the next working day.

This is an emergency service. Referrals will be dealt with according to the social worker’s evaluation of the risk and its urgency.

All users of the Regional Emergency Social Work Service will be provided with a service that is fair and equal regardless of race, religions, language, culture, gender, disability, age and sexual orientation.

What situations are treated as an emergency?

There are a number of situations in which the Regional Emergency Social Work Service will become involved or work with other agencies to ensure the safety of an individual and the community. Examples of emergency situations are where:

  • there are immediate significant protection and welfare concerns in relation to children and young people and vulnerable adults
  • urgent advice and/or support is required by families or carers
  • older people are at risk
  • there is consideration that compulsory admission to hospital under the Mental Health Order (NI) 1986 is required.


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