Monday, February 23, 2009

Code of Ethics for Advocates

Every agency should have a Code of Ethics and standards of professional conduct. Of course every new advocate should read, sign and be given a copy of the agency's code - further, it is important that agency training reinforces the points within the code and expands on subjects such as professional boundaries. These can be illustrated with case scenarios and question and answer formats. This blog will explore the subject of professional boundaries in future posts.

Model Code of Ethics
(Adapted from the NOVA Code of Professional Ethics For Victim Assistance Providers)

Those individuals working in the field of victim services, paid or volunteer, are expected to act with integrity, to treat all victims and survivors with dignity and compassion, and, in cases of crime, to uphold principles of justice for accused and accuser alike. To these ends, this Code will govern the conduct of (insert agency)'s Victim Advocates:

I. In relationships with every client, the Advocate shall:

*. Recognize the interests of the client as a primary responsibility.
*. Respect and protect the client's civil and legal rights.
*. Respect the client's rights to privacy and confidentiality, subject only to reporting statutes.
*. Respond compassionately to each client with individualized services.
*. Accept the client's statement of events as it is told, withholding opinion or judgment, whether or not a suspected offender has been identified, arrested, convicted, or acquitted.
*. Provide services to every client without attributing blame, no matter what the client's conduct was at the time of the victimization or at another stage of the client's life.
*. Foster maximum self-determination on the part of the client.
*. Serve as an advocate when requested and, in that capacity, act on behalf of the client's stated needs without regard to personal convictions and within the guidelines of the (insert agency).
*. Should one client's needs conflict with another's, act with regard to one client only after promptly referring the other to other qualified personnel.
*. Observe the ethical imperative to have no sexual relations with clients, current or past, in recognition that to do so risks exploitation of the knowledge and trust derived from the helping relationship.
*. Make client referrals to other resources or services only in the client's best interest, avoiding any conflict of interest in the process.
*. Provide opportunities for colleagues/ fellow advocates to seek appropriate services when traumatized by a crisis, or by a client.

II. In relationships with colleagues, other professionals, and the public, the Advocate shall:

*. Conduct relationships with colleagues in such a way as to promote mutual respect, public respect, and improvement of service.
*. Make statements that are critical of colleagues only if they are verifiable and constructive in purpose.
*. Conduct relationships with allied professionals such that they are given equal respect and dignity as professionals in the crisis intervention field.
*. Take steps to quell negative, insubstantial rumors about colleagues and allied professionals.
*. Share knowledge and encourage proficiency and excellence in crisis intervention among colleagues and allied professionals, paid and volunteer.
*. Provid professional support, guidance, and assistance to advocates who are new to the field in order to promote consistent quality and professionalism in the field.
*. Seek to ensure that volunteers in crisis intervention have access to the training, supervision, resources, and support required in their efforts to assist clients.
*. Act to promote crime and violence prevention as a public service and an adjunct to crisis intervention.
*. Respect the laws of Michigan while working to change those that may be unjust and discriminatory.

III. In her or his professional conduct, the Victim Advocate shall:

*. Maintain high personal and professional standards in the capacity of a service provider and advocate for clients.
*. Seek and maintain proficiency in the delivery of services to clients.
*. Not discriminate against any victim, employee, colleague, allied professional, or member of the public based on age, gender, disability, ethnicity, race, national origin, religious belief, or sexual orientation.
*. Not reveal the name or other identifying information about a client to another person without clear permission or legal requirements to do so.
*. Not use her or his official position to secure gifts, monetary rewards, business gain/contacts, or special privileges or advantages.
*. Report to the appropriate authority the conduct of any colleague or allied professional that constitutes mistreatment of a client or that brings the profession into disrepute.
*. Report to your supervisor any conflict of interest that prevents oneself or a colleague from being able to provide competent services to a client, to work cooperatively with colleagues or allied professionals, or to be impartial in the treatment of any client.
*. Not seek out or maintain personal contact with client after an intervention for a minimum of six (6) months.
*. Not promote or refer to his or her agency, professional services and/or private practice for business gain.

IV.In his or her responsibility to any other profession, the Victim Advocate will be bound by the ethical standards of ascribed above and of the (insert agency).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Fair Use:This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available for educational purposes to advance our understanding of social justice and human rights issues including gender-based violence. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C…. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Tuscola County Victim Services's Fan Box