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Code of Ethics for social workers new milestone

Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers

24 March 2008

Code of Ethics for social workers marks a new milestone

Social workers throughout Aotearoa New Zealand are receiving their first bilingual Code of Ethics this week, published by their professional association, the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW).

“Publishing the Code in te reo Māori and English is a significant milestone for our professional association, which has a strong record of commitment to a bi-cultural partnership,” says Rose Henderson, ANZASW President.

“Throughout the world-wide community of social work, social workers are united by common causes. They need to be able to base their decisions on ethical considerations, and be accountable for their choices and actions. The ability and commitment of social workers and those entering the profession to act ethically is essential in the delivery of the services they offer to those who use social work services, our clients”.

“Our new Code sets out core values for our membership, covers the revised ethical responsibilities of being a social worker and recognises the local, national and international contexts in which social work operates. It reinforces the fact that the definition of social work has always stressed principles of human rights and social justice,” says Rose Henderson.

“This Code and its standards of ethical practice need to be embedded in social workers’ terms of employment and the expectations of their employers. Equally social workers should be inspired by this Code to foster and engage in ethical debates with their colleagues and employers”.

“A specific example is the Code’s call for social workers to actively and constructively promote change in those social services agencies that have yet to operate from a bi-cultural base grounded in the Articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Through respecting and understanding differing Tangata Whenua perspectives, as stated in the Code, we would hope that fewer organisations will operate from Eurocentric monocultural values and concepts”.

“Being an ANZASW member carries with it an obligation to study this Code, to incorporate it into professional practice, adhere to it and promote it. Having an ethical baseline to work from helps to underpin our professional identity, and is central to the principles that the Association was founded on in 1964. We are especially grateful for the work of Dr Dugald McDonald and John Hopkins in ensuring that our Code of Ethics maintains its place as a vital tool for informing social work in Aotearoa New Zealand”.


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