Kristen has been a social worker for over ten years; she has always presented herself in a professional manner and has never had any conflicts or ethical dilemmas when working a case. However, her recent case has changed this and Kristen has begun to feel a mutual sexual attraction towards one of her clients. She is trying her best not to let this affect her work but she has noticed that it is becoming an issue for her and she is unable to think clearly about the case. Kristen must now make a decision on whether she should remove herself from the case and avoid any further contact with this client or continue working the case and have this dilemma on her hands.
The NASW Code of Ethics (2003) offers a straightforward guide about sexual relationships with clients and those closely related to them. According to the NASW Code of Ethics, social workers should under no circumstance engage in any type of sexual contact or activities with a clients, relatives, or individuals in which the clients have a personal relationship with. Such contact could be detrimental to the health and well being of the client. This is fully stated in Section 1.09 Sexual Relationships of the NASW Code of Ethics (2003).
The code offers an ethical guideline for social workers to follow and is adequate for the intended use of the service provider. Though the code offers guidance for this particular ethical dilemma it does not actually forbid it, which in my opinion it should. If any type of sexual conduct is conducted between a social worker and their client, there should be serious consequences, such as termination or suspension, for such unethical behavior. The social worker may want to speak with a licensed professional about the matter at hand and figure out a way to resolve the issue before it becomes a major issue for the client and their case as well.
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