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Ask SWTP: Media Appearances and Social Work Ethics, Part Two

tv-panel-maybe-social-workersLeft out of Dr. Frederic Reamer's note about social work ethics and media (previous post) was this question:

Q:  Can social workers talk to reporters about cases involving people who aren't their client?

SWTP's Answer:  Social workers may find that they are approached by reporters and have the opportunity to appear in print, radio, or on TV. Reporters are especially eager to get background on what might have motivated a person to commit a particular crime or live a certain type of lifestyle. How should social workers respond? In a word, carefully.  
 
Social workers may give quotes that cover mental health topics in general terms. But social workers should take care not to diagnose anyone they haven't seen as a client or offer wisdom about an area in which they have no real expertise. Of course, if a reporter is asking about a specific client of the social worker's, confidentiality must be protected--"No comment."
 
While promoting your services is ethical, remain factual, speak generallly, and be respectful of clients' rights and social work ethics.

Need to brush up on questions like these?  Try the NASW Code of Ethics and our practice exams.   Have a question you'd like to see answered here? Write ask@socialworktestprep.com.
 
Good luck on the exam!

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