Social work values and ethics are the underpinning of the practice, Sarah Banks defines social work values as a set of fundamental moral/ethical principles to which social workers are/should be committed

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Lynas – Sharon –SWV&E.

Values and ethics are one of the most important characteristic of an individual the fundamentals define who we are and what we believe. (Banks, 2001). Whether individuals are consciously aware of them or not, every individual has a core set of values and ethics. But what do our values and ethics do for us? And how much do they control our actions?

Values can be defined as a set of rules in which we make right or wrong decisions. They help us define good and bad and they facilitate our decisions in what is more or less important when we have a conflict of values. The Collins English dictionary defines values as: ‘the moral principles or accepted standards of a person or group.’(2007) Ethics can be defined in different ways, it may be a set of moral principles or values in which each individual or group lives by. One the other hand ethics can be identified with moral philosophy which consists of the study of ‘morality, moral problems and moral judgement’ (Frankena, 1963 p. 3). Ethics are generally distinguished in three different ways by philosophy, metaethics, normative ethics and descriptive ethics. Metaethics seeks to understand the nature of morality, moral judgements and moral terms such as ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘duty’. Normative ethics endeavours to answer moral questions, such as what is the right action to take in a particular situation or is this the right direction to take? Descriptive ethics examines how individuals moral opinions and beliefs reflect there behaviour and attitudes towards it.

Morality and ethics are often implied as the same, but there is a slight difference. Morals define an individual’s character, where as ethics is a system in which our morals are applied and are standards of codes of behaviour that are expected. In other words, an individual’s moral code generally stays the same; an individual’s ethical codes, professional or other can be dependant on others. The Collins English dictionary defines ethics as: (i) The philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and principles that ought to govern it. (ii) A code of behaviour considered correct, especially that of a particular group, profession or individual (2007).

Values and ethics start to develop from birth and are mainly developed by major influences in an individual life. Factors of culture, religion and many more affect our beliefs and ethics. Individuals also develop many values and ethics through past experiences and expectations as life patterns change. Individuals may have a variety of set of values and ethics, such as personal, professional or political. There are many value systems within a society that are constructed to guide and control actions, structuring patterns of behaviour.

Social work values and ethics are the underpinning of the practice, Sarah Banks defines social work values as a set of fundamental moral/ethical principles to which social workers are/should be committed (Banks, 2001, p.6). Social work values guide social workers in a professional manner and protect service users from discriminations. The key elements to the principle is willingness to ‘respect and value uniqueness and diversity’ and ‘promote people’s right to choice, privacy, confidentiality and protection’ (CCETSW, 1995, p.18). Anti discrimination and anti oppression ideals have been a positive inspiration in the values of social work, empowerment of the service user is imperative. The work load of social workers deals with individuals who are disadvantaged in some form or another so it is important to have a shared value system to reflect the ethical problems and dilemmas they face. According to Pinker, ‘social work is, essentially, a moral enterprise’ (Pinker, 1990, p.14).

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I consider my personal values to be non-judgemental and family orientated. I am bias against social injustice and discrimination. However, I am a strong believer in self worth. I have respect for others and expect the same respect towards myself. I feel my past experiences have provided me with a certain level of understanding which has eliminated many prejudices that I was conscious of. In addition, my knowledge and experiences are continuously making me more aware of how my actions have an impact on others.

With regards to the scenario of the assignment, this involves the dilemma of ...

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