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Running head: CASE VIGNETTE

S.W 3410

Running head: CASE VIGNETTE

I find this case to be a potential case of child abuse, child neglect, and sexual abuse by
Kates parents.
The dilemma in this case is I have a student that has revealed to me that she has been
abused sexually be her step father but refuses to continue the interview if I notify authorities. If I
do report the case to CPS or the local law enforcement and Kate goes silent then she can be in
real danger of developing emotional and mental issues and open her she up for further abuse at
the hands of the stepfather or others in future relationships.
The problem is not only with Kate, but also I will need Kates mother to be cooperative
and supportive of Kate.
In this case I will continue to talk to Kate to gather as much information as I can about
the case so that I wont report a case prematurely and have no real evidence beside Kates word,
which she will deny ever telling me. I will inform Kate of the dangers of keeping something so
tragic a secret and go over some material with her on sexual abuse, in hopes of getting her to
agree to continue to talk.
I will also be sure to go over the confidentiality rules with Kate and let her know that its
my job to alert authorities to ensure her safety.
Given my position to protect those whom I serve and help provide the best quality of life
for my client its in theirs as well as my best interest that I do report it. According to the NASW
Running head: CASE VIGNETTE
Code of Ethics Standard 6.04 says that A social worker should act to prevent the exploitation of
any person regardless of age etc.
Another point brought out in the code of Ethics is Standard 1.01 Commitment to clients
say that Social workers primary responsibility is to promote the well-being of clients.
However, social workers responsibility to the larger society or specific legal obligations may on
limited occasions supersede the loyalty owed clients, and clients should be so advised.
(Examples include when a social worker is required by law to report that a client has abused a
child or has threatened to harm self or others (NASW Code of Ethic, 1996)
1.07 Privacy and Confidentiality Social say that social workers should protect the
confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of professional service, except for
compelling professional reasons. The general expectation that social workers will keep
information confidential does not apply when disclosure is necessary to prevent serious,
foreseeable, and imminent harm to a client or other identifiable person. (NASW Code of Ethics,
The information Kate revealed it related to each of the standards listed above and by law
I must report it.
Based on the content of Level II conventional reasoning I would have made my choice
based on what society says is right, my peers, and the expectations of my employers. I would be
following the rules of my profession which is the NASW Code of Ethics. The reasoning would
be dual I believe because morally I would want to report Kates case to CPS as well as Ethically
where my job rules say I should. (Barsky, 2010)
Running head: CASE VIGNETTE
According to Level II conventional reasoning my choice in this matter would reflect that
of my peers. I would be taking Kates interest in account (Barsky, 2010)
The context of this case is based on Kates social and biological factors. Kates mother
knew of the sexual assault and with her own moral judgment which is level I in this matter
decided that asking her boyfriend to leave the home was good enough and that it should be a
family secret what occurred.
This kind of behavior is mimicked by Kate. Kate does not want any real action to occur
and she would rather keep it a secret and hope that it all just goes away as she has been taught to
The moral reasoning could have been used here. The moral principle that should have
moved Kates mother to act in her behalf was to protect your client not protect an image.. Kate
too should be moved to seek help so that this does not turn into another violent crime, because
with Kates mother boyfriend out of the home his biggest fear is being exposed. What wont he
do to keep this a secret? Thats a very serious question Kate and her mother need to think about.
Furthermore if this behavior goes unreported whos the next victim, is Kate his only victim?
Therefore this case should be reported.
Now on the other hand if I as a social worker had not used the Ethical principle to make
the decision to report this case to CPS and used moral reasoning I would have allowed my
emotions to control my actions and not act in the best interest of Kate.
Lets say I didnt report this case to CPS and my supervisors and continued to meet with
Kate, I possibly could have gotten more information from Kate but at what expense? Maybe I
could have used the extra time by not reporting the incident to give Kate more information on
Running head: CASE VIGNETTE
sexual abuse by a family member, and possibly set her up in a support group with other young
women that were victims to a similar crime. This method would hopefully help build Kates
confidence in herself and stand up for herself when being victimized
The downside to this is what if Kates mother makes up with her step dad now he has
access to Kate again and this time how far will he go.
I would ultimately chose the ethical route and report the case to see that Kate gets the
justice she deserves and the proper counseling for Kate and possibly her mother too.
I would want to see both Kate and her mom receive help individually as well as family
counseling and therapy.
Ethical decision making would guide me as a counselor not to make a moral judgment,
which could lead me to making an emotional decision and having misplaced empathy.

Running head: CASE VIGNETTE
Code of ethics of the National Association of Social workers.1999.Washington, D.C The
Barsky, A.E (2010) Ethics and values in social work an integrated approach for a
comprehensive approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press