Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work Term Paper by Nicky

A brief discussion on ethical dilemmas in social work and their resolution.
# 150347 | 960 words | 5 sources | APA | 2012 | US
Published on Jan 31, 2012 in Sociology (Social Work) , Ethics (General)

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The paper discusses how ethical dilemmas in social work are inevitable, however, they are resolved through the social work profession's code of ethics which promotes core values. The paper considers how the development of online technology has raised privacy and confidentiality issues, especially in the online research environment. The paper also notes that if a client's well-being cannot take precedence in terms of the code of ethics, it is important to inform him/her of the situation and of the options that are being considered.

From the Paper:

"Franklin Harris & Allen-Maeres (2006, p. 922) identify an ethical dilemma as a situation of which all outcomes are potentially or partially undesirable in terms of one or more of the interested parties. The task of the social worker is then to use the Code of Ethics, legislation, and the core values of the profession to help in making the soundest possible decision. In a case where the concern for privacy and confidentiality can potentially lead to harm or even death, for example, this concern takes a subordinate position to the health and safety of all concerned. Hepworth et al. (2009:75) mention the example of "Alice," who confidentially disclosed her HIV status to a social worker. The social worker is now faced with her concern for confidentiality as opposed to the health and safety of her husband and others such as medical practitioners who may be required to provide services to Alice. Hepworth et al. further mention that the social worker should also make use of supervisory help such as professionals from the legal and other professions to identify the applicable regulations in terms of HIV disclosure. This, together with the core values and principles promoted by the Code of Ethics, the social worker can then make the optimal decision."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Hepworth, Dean H., Rooney, Ronald H., Rooney, Glenda Dewberry, Strom-Gottfried, Kim & Larsen, Jo Ann. (2009). Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills. Cengage Learning.
  • Franklin, Cynthia, Harris, Mary Beth, Allen-Maeres, Paula. (2006). The School Services Sourcebook: a guide for school-based professionals. Oxford University Press.
  • Kirst-Ashman, Karen K., Hull, Grafton H. (2008). Understanding Generalist Practice. Cengage Learning.
  • McCleary, Roseanna (2007). Ethical Issues in Online Social Work Research. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Vol. 4, No.1.
  • NASW. (2009). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work (2012, January 31) Retrieved September 29, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work" 31 January 2012. Web. 29 September. 2023. <>