Human Services and Social Work

Human Services and Social Work

Question 1:  20 marks

Identify the legal and ethical issues in the scenario below and briefly outline how you would respond.

NB: We assume that you would provide counselling and support so please do not focus on this. This is about your response to legal and ethical issuesYou are a social worker employed as a family support worker by a non- government organisation funded to provide support to people who have recently arrived in Australia as refugees or migrants. The service also manages Department of Housing properties which are used for short term accommodation.

Most of the clients are from the same cultural background as your family, and you know many of the clients and their families socially.

Mary and Joe are clients of the service, and they have 5 children, ranging in age from 3 to 14 years old. They are staying in the accommodation managed by your service. There have been issues between Joe and one of the other residents and the situation has become very tense. Mary often visits the agency for food vouchers and help with providing basic items for the children. They are 4 weeks behind on the rent and have received correspondence warning them that the lease will be terminated if they don’t start paying rent

Joe is a member of a very prominent family in your community and his brother is a respected religious leader. He previously had a small inheritance from his grandparents but has many debts and has been declared bankrupt. Recently, he was in a car accident and will potentially receive compensation.

You are at a wedding when your cousin, who is a classroom assistant at the local primary school, comes to your table and says “You know Mary over there, she is black and blue, and her kids are so neglected. Someone should do something. That father is a gambler and a menace.”  You notice that Mary, when you say hello, looks at her partner Joe before saying hello. Joe greets you enthusiastically and says “You must do something about that other tenant! He keeps looking at my wife and daughters. I think he has put cameras and bugs in the apartment.”

The next day you receive a phone message from the local police station. Police attended the property late last night due to a disturbance, and arrested the 14-year-old son, Sam. The police say that they want to interview Sam and if he admits to the offence (damage to property) he will be able to get a caution under the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW).

Mary comes in and she whispers that Joe “went off his head” at the other tenant who had come up to say hello, and that her son Sam was only trying to protect her. She says that Joe doesn’t sleep and that she doesn’t either as she stays awake to protect the children from him. There is considerable damage to the property, including smashed windows. Mary has a bruise on her face.

Joe comes into the office and says he is convinced that they are under surveillance and that the other tenant is a secret agent. Sometimes he thinks that Mary and the children are secret agents.

Mary comes to see you later and tells you that she wants to divorce Joe and asks you to promise that you will not tell him. You receive a phone call from her solicitor asking you to write a report in support of her application for the children to live with her full time. Mary asks whether the children will have their own solicitor in the Family Court and whether the solicitor will do what the children want.

Mary also tells you that she has been refused a Supporting Parent benefit by Centrelink as Joe still resides there, although he is not contributing to the family. She asks you what she can do about this

Your supervisor tells you that due to the breaches of the lease agreement and the damage to the property, the family will need to be evicted from the property.

You receive a phone call from your cousin who asks you for information about the family as the school has concerns about one of the children. Your cousin tells you that you should share information so you can support Mary.

You receive a subpoena from the Family Court for all records relating to the family.Question 2: 20 marks

(a)10 marks

“Australia does not have adequate protection of human rights”

What action has been proposed to improve human rights protection in Australia?

Briefly outline the arguments in the light of the Northern Territory Intervention.

(b) 10 marks

“The effects of the Stolen Generation can be seen in every aspect of the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders”

Discuss, giving examples from the interaction between the legal system and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

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