Monthly Results Page. Scenario #1

Thank you for your feedback! See below how other victim advocates responded to the ethical dilemma created when Jose risked breaching boundaries with Norma.

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Section One: Assess case details
Online respondents to the Jose and Norma case scenario focused primarily on five topics in the assessment of the case details.

  1. Violation of boundaries in the provider-client relationship.
  2. Issues related to cultural competency.
  3. Norma as a domestic violence victim.
  4. Norma's dependency on her advocate that inhibits her empowerment.
  5. Concerns that a referral to another provider could inhibit Norma's progress.
Section Two: Practical Considerations
When asked to identify the main practical considerations, online respondents to the Jose and Norma case scenario focused primarily on five themes:

  1. Need for ethical and culturally competent case management.
  2. Norma's safety.
  3. Jose's boundary dilemma and his recognition of it as a problem.
  4. Norma's indecision about whether to return to her husband, and empowerment to help her make the decision.
  5. Finding appropriate services from a different provider without traumatizing Norma.
Section Three: Identify the Relevant Ethical Standards

When asked to identify the relevant ethical standards, online respondents to the Jose and Norma case scenario focused on six standards:

  1.  3.8  Dual relationships: Avoid personal relationships that exploit professional trust.
  2.  1.3  Professional conduct.
  3.  3.6  Avoidance of conflict of interest.
  4.  3.2  Primary responsibility is the interests of person served.
  5.  3.7  Termination of a professional relationship.
  6.  1.4  Professional competence.
Section Four: Consider the Possible Course of Action

When asked to determine the potential upsides and downsides of the following courses of actions, online respondents to the Jose and Norma case scenario gave a variety of responses. They are summarized below.


Jose reveals his feelings for Norma to his superior as well as his concerns about referring her to another provider. He asks his superior to sit in on their meetings until they can assess his ability to be objective and to determine whether or not her progress might be impeded by a referral.

Potential Upsides:
  • The supervisor assesses and evaluates Jose's ability to provide objective services to Norma, and can either bring in another caretaker to assist or to replace Jose.
  • The need for cultural competency is recognized as is Norma's reliance/dependence on Jose.
  • Jose has been ethically responsible.
  • The provider-client relationship remains intact until the need for an alternative solution is identified and acted upon.
Potential Downsides:
  • Jose's feelings put Norma at risk for further harm.
  • Jose cannot effectively empower Norma.
  • Norma resents the loss of confidentiality when the second caretaker is present.
  • Supervisor terminates the sessions abruptly leaving Norma feeling lost and scared.

Jose decides to keep his feelings to himself and struggles to remain objective in his dealings with Norma.

Potential Upsides:
  • Jose resolves his feelings, remains objective, and puts his client's interests above his own.
  • There is benefit for Norma in having in an ongoing culturally competent relationship with Jose, and she makes progress.

Note: One-half the respondents said that there was no upside with this option.

Potential Downsides:

  • Jose does not remain objective. He becomes invested in the outcome and interferes with Norma's life.
  • Jose shows bias and poor judgment.
  • Norma's dependency on Jose greatly impedes her progress.
  • Norma is harmed.

© 2005 Victims' Assistance Legal Organization