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The purpose of the report is to discuss about the incident of ethical decision-making that has to be conducted regarding the resolution of ethical dilemmas that has been found from the case study of Jenny, who is a woman accessing food and welfare services. Ethical decision-making is a process of reviewing the options which are available for resolving an ethical dilemma through elimination of unethical views and aspects while choosing the best alternative of ethical decisions (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2021). Through a process of ethical decision-making, trust as well as fairness is inspired. This is responsible for fostering care as well as responsibility for other people (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2021). These conditions are easily identified by the process of ethical decision-making.

Social Dilemma For A Community Worker

An ethical dilemma usually arises when a community or a social worker has to select between two valid but mutually exclusive actions, which may harm the concerned person or persons (Pollock, 2021). One of the social or ethical dilemma that  community workers face is confidentiality involving minors (Surmiak, 2018). It has been found that information shared between community workers as well as their clients is always confidential but it often happens that situations arise when the social worker has to disclose some confidential information about a minor to some third party (Surmiak, 2018). Minors are often entitled to some rights of confidentiality as per the laws and regulations of the state. It might turn out to be difficult for community worker as well as painful since they can feel the problem of both the parties like a breach of trust which is major. According to Privacy and Confidentiality Act 1988, in Australia, children below the age of 16 years of age do not have the right to give consent or open up about their medical condition or cannot decide for their own course of treatment for the same (CDLA, 2021). It is their parents who are contacted in this case.

Domestic violence can cause anxiety and disorder in a person who is facing the same (Chhabra, 2018). In the case study, bruises in the body of Jenny’s son are showing that he is being subjected to some kind of violence. However, the community worker is attending to Jenny and not his son. Hence, reporting bruises of Jenny’s son may serve as a social dilemma for her. As a community worker, one should always maintain and respect the confidentiality and privacy of his or her client (Barsky, 2019). Since, the community worker dealing with Jenny finds that she does not introduce her son to the community worker or does not talk much about the son, the community worker cannot intrude her privacy and confidential issues and escalate the assumption of domestic violence in the form of child abuse to higher authorities. She also cannot talk to Jenny about her assumptions unless she talks about it. 

Ethical Decision-Making

Ethical decision-making in community services helps in sustaining and generating trust, show respect, fairness, responsibility as well as caring for the subjects who are in need of community services (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2021). Ethical decision-making should be guided by the four principles of decision-making such as justice, beneficence, fidelity, autonomy and non-maleficence (Forester-Miller & Davis, 2022). In the case of Jenny and his son the principle of autonomy has to be followed sincerely. Autonomy is a principle which addresses the respect of a person for independence and this principle is known to encourage the freedom of choice as well as action.
Firstly, the community worker has to escalate the issue of bruises on the body of Jenny’s son to the concerned manager or higher authority as there is a notable risk of harm to the child. Since, the community worker cannot directly confront Jenny about her child’s abuse on ethical grounds, the issue can be escalated since proper risks management strategies have to be implemented. If this is not done, it might lead to hinder the proper mental development of the child and create a trauma or scarring in his mind for rest of the lives. Rendering justice is an essential part of ethical decision-making (Wittmer, 2019). This is guided by justice from ethical decision-making framework which provides correct and appropriate measures that are necessary to render well-being to a patient.
Secondly, housing services can be provided to Jenny as she is having some financial problems due to loss of job of her husband. Here, the ethical principle of beneficence shall be applied. Beneficence is the responsibility of the  counselor or the community worker in contributing to the welfare of the client (Avant & Swetz, 2021). In other words, this principle means to provide comfort and be good as well as proactive by preventing harm to the client whenever possible. Beneficence can be demonstrated in the form of interventions which will contribute to the betterment of the clients (Martela & Riekki, 2018). Here, justice also gets applied since it means treating a person well by providing services that one is actually in need of. Since the husband of Jenny has lost his job, a proper housing service will provide shelter to her.
Thirdly, services such as parenting programs can be provided to Jenny so that she can take care of her child. This will adopt the principles of non-maleficence which means to prevent causing harm to people or clients (Martela & Riekki, 2018). With the help of parenting programs, quality of the parent-child relationships can be improved and it will help in preventing the chances of episodes of re-abuse through transformation in the attitude of the parents. Parenting programs will also bring about improvisation in the skills and practices of parents. These skills include reduction of conflict between child and parent, parenting stress and coerciveness, improve the psychosocial functioning of parents and improve the dynamic of the family (Vlahovicova et al., 2017). Various problems of child behaviour can also be reduced through implementation of strategic child programs. Justice is a nominal part of ethical decision-making here, since the child has to be treated differently through improvisation of Jenny’s behaviour as a parent. This will provide a secure life to the 6-year-old son of Jenny.

Conclusion on Ethical Decision Making:

It can be concluded that the ethical-decision process must be sound enough to address the social dilemma issues of Jenny so that a better life can be enhanced to both Jenny and her child. It is through adoption and application of the five principles of ethical-decision making process that Jenny can render a better life to her son, find some employment for herself and can get a place to live with her family and husband. 

Reference List

Avant, L. C., & Swetz, K. M. (2020). Revisiting Beneficence: What Is a ‘Benefit’, and by What Criteria?. The American Journal of Bioethics, 20(3), 75-77. DOI: 10.1159/000509119
Barsky, A. E. (2019). Ethics and values in social work: An integrated approach for a comprehensive curriculum. Oxford University Press.
CDLA. (2021). Breach of confidentiality laws – complete guide - Privacy Protection - Australia. Retrieved 25 July 2022, from
Chhabra, S. (2018). Effects of societal/domestic violence on health of women. J Women’s Health Reprod Med, 2(1), 6.
Ferrell, O. C., & Fraedrich, J. (2021). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases. Cengage learning.
Forester-Miller, H., & Davis, T. (2022). Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making. Retrieved 25 July 2022, from
Martela, F., & Riekki, T. J. (2018). Autonomy, competence, relatedness, and beneficence: A multicultural comparison of the four pathways to meaningful work. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1157.
Pollock, J. M. (2021). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice. Cengage Learning.
Surmiak, A. (2018, September). Confidentiality in qualitative research involving vulnerable participants: Researchers’ perspectives. In Forum: Qualitative Social Research (Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 393-418). Freie Universität Berlin.
Vlahovicova, K., Melendez-Torres, G. J., Leijten, P., Knerr, W., & Gardner, F. (2017). Parenting Programs for the Prevention of Child Physical Abuse Recurrence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Clinical child and family psychology review, 20(3), 351–365.
Wittmer, D. P. (2019). Ethical decision-making. In Handbook of administrative ethics (pp. 481-507). Routledge.

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