Ethical Positions Paper (Australia) Ethics and Professional Practice

Ethics and Professional Practice (Australia)

Assessment 1: Ethical Positions Paper

Weight: 45%
Length: 1500 words maximum
Task description: Students are required to give consideration to an ethical issue that can be explored in depth with TWO other people. To do this the ethical issue
needs to be framed up as a question that can be posed to others, and then analysed with reference to ethical theory.
Follow these steps to complete the task:
1. The first step is to define the broad ethical issue, including an exploration of relevant literature.
2. The second step is to reframe the ethical issue as a question so that it can be responded to by TWO other people. For examples of ethical questions, see the
document Ethical Questions Examples below .
3. The third step is to interview TWO people (over the age of 18) about their responses to the question (NB: these people do not necessarily have to be connected to
work in human services, but it would be useful to have at least one professional perspective). Research ethics requires that you adhere to strict standards when
involving people in your research. Refer to the document Engaging in Discussions with Participants below.

o You are required to adequately inform the interviewee about the interview, as well obtain their consent using the Consent form Note, this consent form is only a
guide, you can reformat it to suit your participant. Make sure to attach this consent form as an appendix to your assignment.
4. The fourth step is to conduct an analysis of each person’s position on the question with reference to ethical theory and relevant ethical principles.
5. The final step is to reflect on and articulate a personal and professional position, including any challenges that the question presents for practice.
Download: Ethical Questions Examples (pdf)
Download: Ethics Information for Students Assessment (doc)
Download: Participant Consent Form (doc) or Participant Consent Form (pdf)
Ethical Questions The ethical question should have a distinct ‘ethical’ dimension to it, and needs to be clear enough to elicit response from others. Take time over
your question – formulating a good question is harder than you think. Please note that these are examples only and you do not have to use one of these for your
assignment. Remember to think about ethical theory when you explore your question in the discussion and during your analysis.

Examples of Ethical Questions
• Should a rehabilitation counsellor disclose their client’s mental illness to a potential employer without informing the client?
• Should women with serious mental illness be allowed to keep children in their care?
• Should a counsellor be able to pursue an intimate relationship with a client after the counselling relationship has been terminated?
• Should a disability support worker be allowed to develop a friendship with a client’s family?
• Should a person who suffers from dementia be admitted to a residential care facility despite their wish to remain at home until their death?
• Should pregnant women who continue to use drugs be provided with injecting equipment via a needle exchange program?
• Should foster parents only be allowed to have children in their care if they are nonsmokers?
• Should a worker who has had a personal experience of domestic violence disclose this to a client who is in a similar situation?
• Should serious sex offenders be jailed indefinitely if they refuse to complete rehabilitation programs?
• Should a worker provide information about abortion options to a pregnant woman who has asked for this information despite the employing church based organization
prohibiting staff from providing information about abortion?
• Should newborns be taken from their parent’s custody immediately after birth if their parents have previously had other children removed from their custody due to
severe child abuse and neglect?
• Should euthanasia be a legal option for people with a terminal illness?
• Should parenting programs be made compulsory for all first time parents?


Writing Format;

Introduction: Set out the ethical topic/question clearly; rationale for choice of topic (brief) and state what you are going to do in the assignment (brief) (100
Practice-based literature: Set out an overview of literature about your topic. What are the different perspectives, any research, legal issues (brief and only if
relevant), statistics (if relevant) (400 words);
• Respondent Position 1: Summary of the response to the ethical question and analysis using ethical theory (eg deontology, utilitarianism etc) and relevant ethical
principles (eg Autonomy, paternalism and self-determination; Privacy and confidentiality; Social control and toleration)

privacy etc) (300 words)
Respondent Position 2: as above (300 words)
Personal and professional position and challenges for practice: (300 words);
Conclusion: (100 words)



Useful Code of ethics
AASW Code of Ethics:
Australian Community Workers Association Code of Ethics:
Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics:
Australian Society for Rehabilitation Counsellors Code of Ethics:

Required readings
• Banks, S. (2006). Professionalism and codes of ethics. In Ethics and values in social work (pp. 74-102). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Congress, E., & McAuliffe, D. (2006). Social work ethics: Professional codes in Australia and the United States. International Social Work, 49(2), 151-164.

• Millsteed, J. (2007). Regulation of the professions. In H. Freegard (Ed.), Ethical practice for health professionals (pp. 93-108). South Melbourne: Thomson.

• Sercombe, J., & Sercombe, H. (2010). Working the document: Using ethics cards to operationalise the youth work code of ethics. Ethics and Social Welfare, 4(3), 300-

• Chapter 4 professionalism and codes of ethics
Include some information from 1 to 9 below please; (these are straight from journal or books so please change sentences or “ ”

Model of Ethical Decision Making
Inclusive Model p80 accountability critical reflection cultural sensitivity consultation
Understanding the concepts of power is critical to making sense of the interrelationships between individuals, family and social systems and, therefore, it is a
central theme of practice. P44

A range of ethical theories assist us to articulate out thoughts about what is important. Ethical theories are essentially either consequentialist or non
consequentialist; that is, the theories either take possible consequences of actions into account or they see consequences as irrelevant. P63
The Australian Association of Social workers(AASW) Practice Standards 2013,
• guide to practice
• basis for applying standards across the diversity of practice in Australia
• basis of expected standards of practice
• guide for the assessment of practice
• guide for planning ongoing professional development.
P 103
we acknowledge the balance between absolutism (some values and principles hold across all places and times) and relativism (some values and principles are culturally
determined and not universal). P 73
they are in some way to do with rights, obligations, duties or what is morally right or wrong – specific ways of thinking about such decisions ensure that we pay
attention to the critical points. Ethical decision making has been defined as ‘the process by which social workers engage in an exploration of values – that may be
evident in the personal, professional, social and organisational spheres p 78

(McAuliffe & Lesley, The Road to Social Work and Human Service Practice, 2014)



“We need to move beyond gratitude, sympathy and compassion, to consider how we build categories of need and essentialise them, and we need to decentre the platform of
our viewing and to engage with the efficacy of our actions. We need to recalibrate by adopting powerful counter-narratives and communicating alternative visions of how
things might be in order to challenge conventional wisdoms and practices.”

(McAuliffe, Williams, & Briskman, Moral outrage! Socail work and social welfare, 2016)

“Ethical decision making is a core part of the work of social work and human service practitioners, who confront with regularity dilemmas of duty of care;
confidentiality, privacy and disclosure; choice and autonomy; and distribution of increasingly scarce resources.”
(McAuliffe & Chenoweth, Leave No Stone Unturned: The Inclusive Model of Ethical Decision Making, 2008)

“Social workers still need to be prepared to challenge agency policies and practices and to view themselves as more than just employees doing a job. Professional codes
of ethics, along with education and training, obviously have a role to play in this.” P 101

(Banks, 2006)

Banks, S. (2006). Ethics and values in social work. New York, Hamshire, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
McAuliffe, D., & Chenoweth, L. (2008, July 01). Leave No Stone Unturned: The Inclusive Model of Ethical Decision Making. ethics and Social Welfare, 2(1), 38-49.
McAuliffe, D., & Lesley, C. (2014). The Road to Social Work and Human Service Practice. ProQuest Ebook Central.
McAuliffe, D., & Williams, C. (2016, March 30). Moral outrage! Social work and social welfare. Ethics and Social Welfare, 10(2), 87-93.
McAuliffe, D., Williams, C., & Briskman, L. (2016, March 30). Moral outrage! Socail work and social welfare. Ethics and Social Welfare, 10(2), 87-93.



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