The responsibility to maintain client confidentiality while being subject to the legal responsibility of social workers to protect children from abuse is an obvious conflict. However, a strong justification for the professional relationship through informed and informed consent and the attention paid to the social worker`s responsibility to minimize the damage suffered by the client, even after a breach of the client`s trust, show how such a conflict can be effectively mitigated. In all cases, with or without written information tools, the social worker and client should discuss personal expectations of confidentiality and confidentiality. The social worker should use a language that the client can understand. Thus, the social worker may say that he or she will keep information “private” or “between the two of us.” But it is very important for the social worker to make it clear that there may be times when “private” information is shared with others. Basic language can be used, such as: “I have to share this private information if I think you will hurt yourself or someone else, or if I think someone is hurting you, or someone else.” The legal obligation of all social workers to report alleged child abuse therefore outweighs the responsibility to maintain customer trust. The NASW code and related laws all agree. Even if you are developing a report to child protection services, you should try to protect your client as much as possible. When you report to child welfare services on a client, you do not provide a complete biopsycho-social assessment of your client. Instead, you provide the information necessary to fulfill your legal reporting obligation and your ethical obligation to the wider society, while protecting as much as possible your client`s privacy. If a rape case has been attributed to you, in your first assessment, you will find that the rapist is a member of the victims` family. Are there alternatives of any age that should be considered with respect to privacy and confidentiality, even with informed consent? In this case, these are clearly conflicting professional obligations, first and foremost the obligation of the social worker to protect the confidentiality of clients, to respect the client`s self-determination, to respect the law and to protect minors from damage. As with so many complex ethical dilemmas, thoughtful and principled social workers are divided on the ultimate ethical duty of the practitioner.
Some argue that a social worker`s agenda is primarily clinical – that is, the social worker should help the mother understand her difficult situation, rethink her options and make responsible decisions.