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Bullying and Ethical Dilemma

Bullyingand Ethical Dilemma

Bullyingand Ethical Dilemma

Socialworkers are primarily interested in enhancing human well being, helpmeet fundamental needs of every person, with special interest to theempowerment and needs of individuals who are susceptible, oppressedand living in desperate conditions. In their line of their duty,social workers encounter different challenges. The NationalAssociation of Social Workers (NASW) code of ethics is meant to guidesocial workers through their work particularly in their interactionwith clients. Even though, social workers may face ethical dilemmasin their work. Dealing with bullies and bullied children is one ofthe responsibilities of social workers. This essay examines theethical dilemma that may arise in bullying in relation to NASW.

Theethical code of conduct for social workers entails commitment toclients. The social workers’ fundamental responsibility is topromote the client’s well being. At times, the responsibility of asocial worker to the larger society and certain legalresponsibilities may exceed the loyalty owed to the client (NASW,N.D). As such, when dealing with a bully, and a social workerdiscovers that the bully is using and peddling drugs which are makingthem to be violent and bully others, reporting or channeling theclient to other professionals may become necessary. For instance, thesocial worker may seek the intervention of parents and the localauthorities as drug peddling and use is against the law. The socialworker according to this principle is also required to let the clientknow that his or her commitment to the client supersedes legalobligation. This situation in itself is a dilemma as the socialworkers intention and primary interest is to help the child bully tochange. Taking a decision such as reporting him to the authoritiesmay not in the end help the child, as they may end up facing juvenilejustice.

Similarly,commitment to client and the concept of privacy and confidentialityas emphasized by the NASW code of conduct may be at logger heads(Dulmus&amp Sowers, 2012).According to this principle, a social worker must respect the rightof privacy of the client. In addition, once a client sharesconfidential information, privacy should be applied. If the clientreveals that he has been peddling and using drugs the social workermay be in a dilemma whether to share this information or not.Observing privacy means not disclosing the information to anyonewithout the consent of the client as per the principle of privacy. Onthe other hand, the social worker’s commitment to the client inthis case supersedes the loyalty owed to the client. These twoprinciples create a dilemma for the social worker (Dulmus&amp Sowers, 2012). Whether or not to bleach the privacy code of ethics and tell theauthorities and the client’s parents. The commitment to the clientprinciple is also clear that, if the interest of the clientsupersedes that of the larger society or certain legal obligation,the social worker is responsible for decision making.

Dealingwith clients has never been easy for social workers. The code ofethics which is meant to guide social workers may also present a setof challenges, by creating an ethical dilemma. It’s upon the socialworker to weigh for options and even seek the intervention of theagency if faced with an ethical dilemma, to avoid making mistakes.


Dulmus,C. &amp Sowers, K. (2012). Socialwork fields of practice historical trends, professional issues, andfuture opportunities.Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley &amp Sons.

TheNational Association of Social Workers (NASW). (no date). Codeof Ethics.Retrievedhttp://www.sp2.upenn.edu/docs/resources/nasw_code_of_ethics.pdf(Accessed March 14, 2014)