The Preamble to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers emphasizes that its mission is to “enhance human well-being and meet the basic human needs of all people” (NASW, 2008) as social workers are poised to do. Similarly, Walden University’s mission that “provides a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves… so that they can effect positive social change” (Walden University, 2013). Social workers are called upon to improve and even repair the lives of individuals and/or families, while addressing the needs of marginalized groups that get overlooked in the system.
In the case of Charo, a 34-year-old female, who has suffered lifelong domestic abuse before and after coming to America, it was imperative to devise an updated safety plan for the protection of Charo and her children. Protecting a person and children from domestic abuse is a hard cross to bear and the social worker can run into ethical dilemmas when trying to discern and dissociate personal and professional values and ethics in dealing with a sensitive situation, one that can pose the threat of death. NASW’s core values include integrity, dignity, respect for human relationships, social justice, service and competence. In this case, even with a social worker defending the abused, this anger can create prejudiced, narrow and pejorative views of sex offenders. While they are some of the last people to be defended, this dissonance of professional and personal values can highlight biases. To combat this, it would do well for social workers to adopt a particular framework or model, like feminist theory, that can reconcile this value system conflict. Following a decision-making model for social work aligns with the Walden mission and NASW’s values of dignity, social justice and the importance of human relationships. The mission, vision and values inform the role as a social change agent by serving as a reminder of how social workers are to perform within their roles.
- Gonzales-Prendes, A., Ph.D. (n.d.). Dissonance between Personal and Professional Values: Resolution of an Ethical Dilemma (E. Comartin LMSW, Ed.). Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 8(2), 5-14. Retrieved August 4, 2016.