1. What are the most difficult ethical dilemmas you face?
Interning at Family Abuse Services, the most difficult ethical dilemmas working in the domestic violence field have to do with confidentiality and mandated reporting. Respecting clients’ confidentiality can sometimes create tension between the ethical desire to keep certain information confidential and the legal requirements as a social worker to report child abuse or domestic violence. When working with domestic violence victims releasing client information due to the mandated reporting law verses putting clients in more danger because of making a mandated report becomes the issue. For example, upholding the safety and well-being of clients who need shelter while still empowering them to do what is best for them is not always possible. There are many ethical dilemmas that come with not being able to find a domestic violence client, who is in imminent danger, safe shelter.
For instance, when a domestic violence client needs to stay within a specific area due to work and her children’s school district and there is not shelter available in that area. While talking with an advocate, the client disclosed information that her alleged abuser has also hurt her children. Although the client does have options outside of the county but chooses not to leave, according to the mandated reporting law I would have to report the child abuse. This would either force her to leave her husband and take her children with her, or her children would be removed from the home causing harm or potential death to the victim and expose the children to even more emotional and mental trauma. Breaching confidentiality in this situation would also defying the client’s rig...
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...lways have a copy of the NASW Code of Ethics on hand to readily identify the principles that come into conflict in each specific situation; utilize supervision when I have doubts or questions and take time to process through the issue before coming to a sound decision; and make sure that I feel confident that I am doing what is in the best interest of the client and their situation at all times.
12. Has there been content or information on resolving ethical and legal dilemmas you have
needed (or now need) but were unable to find or understand?
No, I have been provided the supervision, content, and feedback that I have needed to excel as a social worker. Also, the abundance of information given in each class pertaining to the NASW Code of Ethics has assisted with my self-reflection and social work practice as well as my personal growth and development.
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