Suggested Social Policies to Control Social Harms in Iran
Governments are expected to adopt proper policies to promote health indicators and to control and decline social harms. However, current social harms statistics and types as well as age range of people who are involved in them show an unsuitable situation. Lack of convenient policy underlies poor interdisciplinary work, inadequate resource management, and arbitrary decision. There are many barriers which prevent social harms to be well identified and figured out: politicians and the public must intend and demand special consideration towards social harms; media activists should be concerned about it instead of focusing only on trivial or unsolvable topics; remarkable research evidence must be provided, and social harms must be well conceptualized as they vary time to time and place to place. The present study has been conducted to provide a list of recommended policies in order to control social harms in Iran, utilizing experts’ opinions.
This is a qualitative and applied-developmental research study, conducted implementing a Delphi method. Delphi is a systematic data gathering method through which experts’ opinions are obtained as regards a particular subject or question. In this study, during three rounds, experts answered written questions anonymously. The participants could see feedbacks of others and change or insist on their viewpoints. Finally, the research team continued the procedure until they felt that relative consensus has been reached Twenty experts were asked to participate in the study. The experts were selected based on some criteria that could enable researchers to reach the study goals. They all had academic and scientific reputation, and they were also nationally known for their works on the topics related to the present study, either in social harms field directly or germane areas, such as sociology, social health, social work, social policy, economics, etc. They had also prominent practical experience in the fields that assured researchers that they are knowledgeable in the study topic. Since this method is inherently time consuming, the participants should have been provided with sufficient time to answer and get to know the topic. All recommended parts of Delphi method including controlled feedback, results analysis, and consensus were respected until  the best possible agreement was reached.
Results were discovered differently in any round. In pre-round stage, one single open question was posed and 52 policies were taken out. In order to purify the received responses, 48 items were sent back to the participants. In the next rounds 31 policies were agreed upon and in the last round, experts noted that one of the items must have been divided into two, accordingly 32 policies were identified, and it was assessed and pointed out that the participants have agreed on 32 policies. Some of the most prioritized subjects were identified as, continuous monitoring of social harms, attention to community-based approaches, special attention to economic issues, attention to expanding alternative dispute resolution, developing happiness and hope, inter-organizational cooperation, attention to religious and social values, futurism, attention to high-risk areas, removing parallel and ineffective organizational structures, continuous assessment of social health, providing social and cultural attachment for programs, attention to educational centers, training specialized and professional persons, attention to virtual space and social media, healthy lifestyle, social identity, improving health-care, social support promotion, social inclusion, social responsibility and social demanding, attention to social responsibility of corporations, decreasing workplace stress, using mass media, using capacity of urban and rural management system, sense of social security, recreations, occupational training and empowerment, international communication and insurance coverage.
Based on the findings, it can be claimed that despite all the efforts that have been made, there is still a long way to go to reach a satisfactory point to be able tackle social harms. Results of the present study revealed that except for addiction field that has already been made, macro-level social policy as regards social harms seems necessary to be built. Just by taking a macro-level policy into account, it will be possible to design pathways to avoid arbitrary decision making, to get all capacities, either in GO or NGO parts together, to begin an inter-organizational coordination, to manage sources effectively, to determine priorities for policy making, to administer programs comprehensively, inclusively, and adequately, and finally, to do a better work division among related organizations at different levels. It is, of course, a noticeable progress that high ranking politicians did acknowledge that we are still several years behind compared to the way social harms change, since it helps scholars and managers to address the problems and find ways to solve them. Since social issues are interrelated, governments are supposed to make policies by which all indicators of health, including social health indicators become continuously investigated and along with changes of social issues, particularly social harms, policies become flexibly modified. Media and civil society would be good partners for governments to adopt and implement policies against social harms.
Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Social Welfare Quarterly, Volume:18 Issue:70, 2019
77 - 104  
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