Left out of Dr. Frederic Reamer's note
about social work ethics and media (previous post) was this
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck on the exam!