People face difficult situations in their daily lives and therefore, counseling is important to assist these people go through life smoothly. Among the many difficult situations, that people experience is domestic violence. Domestic violence affects not only the partners involved but also their children and society (Dutton, 2006). The partners may not notice the harm they cause their children when involved in violence but it actually affects children psychologically. When clients of domestic violence appear in counseling sessions, a counselor needs to observe the necessary legal and ethical issues in dealing with the situation. The counselor may experience several challenges in their profession while dealing with a client of violence thus it is prudent to institute a working plan for dealing with the situation. In order to work effectively with clients of domestic violence, a counselor should have the relevant qualifications, experience and be conversant with the law. This paper analyses a scenario of violence where the victim has been attending counseling sessions. It describes the social, legal and ethical challenges of the scenario given and identifies challenges that the counselor faces when working with the client.
Social, legal and ethical issues
As social beings, people interact with others in their places of work or at home. Social issues arise when a person interacts with others in the society, at home or at work. Social issues may affect a person or members of the society directly or indirectly and they are usually challenges and controversies related to moral values (Statsky, 2002). Social issues can arise when there is violence and one of the parties uses force contrary to the wishes of others. The given scenario is a case of domestic violence. It includes physical abuse because the client has some injuries inflicted on their face such as the black eye.
Among the social issues in this case is the effect on the client’s children. The client believes that the children are not aware of any violence that goes on in the house because it occurs at night after the children have gone to bed. However, the children in this case seem to be aware of whatever goes on in the house after they go to bed. At one point when the client claims that the black eye was from an accident, one of the children retorts and puts a rhetoric question that even when the parents fight and throw things that is still an accident. Therefore, it is clear that the violence in this house affects the children directly. They are aware that their parents fight all the time and keep throwing things at each other causing harm. The children could be so affected that they only find sleep after the violence stops.
Another social issue relates to the effect of the violence on the children. The children could turn to be violent with each other and become rude even to their parents because of the behavior they witness. The social life of these children with others in the society or at school could deteriorate because of the psychological disturbance (James, 2007). Additionally, children of domestic violence may become irresponsible in their adult life because of the environment in which they grow up. These children could also become violent with their partners in future when they start with their families. McClennen (2010) asserts that the violence also affects the social lives of the partners involved. The partners may withdraw from other members in the society because of the violence. This withdrawal could eventually affect their performance in the workplace and other areas of work in the society.
Children develop some behavioral and emotional problems such as aggressiveness, anxiety and their socialization with family, friends and authorities change because of domestic violence. The children can also experience depression and self-esteem issues because of the traumatic experiences in the home (Jackson, 2007). These children have problems with their attitude and lack problem solving skills, which often affects their performance and behavior at school. The issues outlined above relate to the given case. These social issues could affect the children in the given scenario.
Violence of any kind is usually against the law. The given scenario is a case of domestic violence, which poses several legal issues for consideration. One of the legal issues deals with the victim of the client reporting the case to law enforcement authorities. It is the duty of the abused partner to report the case to the authority to prosecute the perpetrator of the crime. In case the victim is not able to report the crime, then the counselor should take the onus to report the crime to the relevant authorities.
The victim should report the crime to the law enforcement authorities because of the effect of the crime to children. The perpetrator of the crime may eventually turn to abusing the children if the authorities do not intervene to save the situation. In as much as the law enforcement officers protect the victim, they should also not violate the rights of the alleged abuser (Killion & Dempski, 2000). It is the responsibility of the counselor in this case to report the matter to the authorities before it gets worse. The client is attending the fourth counseling session but the situation is getting worse since this time the abuser physically injured the client this time.
In determining the legal issues involved in this case, the law enforcement authorities should consider several factors. They should consider signs of physical abuse such as the black eye of the victim and any witnesses to the crime who in this case could be the children. The authorities should determine if the case was recent and who the alleged abuser was in determining the extent of the crime.
An ethical issue deals with those problems that require someone to choose between two alternatives and evaluate them as either right or wrong (Eidsness & Spencer, 2011). When someone faces an ethical situation, it is important to choose the best alternative that could benefit both parties. In the given scenario, several ethical issues arises that put the parties involved in a dilemma. Ethics demand that the information obtained from the client by the counselor remains confidential. The counselor should not share client’s information with other people. However, in some situations it is inevitable not to share the information. In the given case, the counselor has the right to inform the authorities about the violence going on in the house of the client for the safety of the children involved. It is only ethical for the counselor to report that case because if anything bad happens to the children, the counselor is liable (James, 2008).
Another ethical issue arises when the victim of the violence is in a dilemma on whether to tell the children the truth about the violence. The client lies about the cause of having a black eye by saying that it was just an accident. However, the children seem to know the cause of the black eye, which one of them attributes to the fighting of their parents. Therefore, the victim has an ethical duty to mention the cause of the black eye without lying.
Challenges in working with the client
Working with the client in the given scenario poses challenges to the profession and personal life of the counselor. Among the challenges working with this client, would include separating emotions from work. Sometimes a counselor may sympathize with the client and fail to provide the necessary counseling because of the difficult situation of the client. In this case, the client is facing violence from the partner, which even includes physical injury. The counselor may encounter a challenge dealing with this case because the client is not willing to volunteer full information about the incident leading to the black eye.
The counseling profession requires that a counselor does not disclose any information regarding the client to other parties (Jacob, et al. 2011). This restriction of disclosure poses challenges when the client refuses to share all information and affects other people. The client involved in this case is not willing to give truthful information about the cause of having a black eye. The client thinks that the children do not know the cause of the accident but they actually do. The client may not be willing to give enough information about the intensity of the violence and this could affect the safety of the children. With the client withholding some information about the violence, that poses a professional challenge to the counselor because of not knowing what to do. The counselor could decide to violate the profession’s principle and report the case to save the children or remain silent and affect the safety of the children (Kitchener, 2000).
In order to work with this client effectively, the counselor needs to outline a plan of action. The counselor needs to have sessions with the client where to teach him or her about the benefits of giving truthful information even to the children. Children are the immediate people close to the couple and they are affected the most. The children in this case could develop emotional, behavioral as well as social problems if not shielded from the violence (Jackson, 2007). Therefore, it is important to educate the client on the need to share with the children the cause of violence in the home because at one point they do find out.
The counselor should also involve the other partner while working with this client. The perpetrator of the violence also needs counseling in order to understand the causes of the violence including the physical injuries (Wallace, 2004). This involvement could prevent using the law enforcement authorities in the situation because the abuser will eventually learn to stop the violence. To enable the client volunteer full information, the counselor should probe more about the incidences that occur during the violent attacks that the client experiences. For instance, after further probe, the client is able to give more information, which shows that the black eye does not result from just any other accident. The cause of the black eye is the violent fights and throwing of things with the partner. Therefore, utilizing effective communication and probing skills will go a long way in dealing with the challenges of the given case. The counselor should also add the number of counseling sessions and may rehabilitate the client in line with the professional duties.
Issues raised in the case
The given scenario raises several issues concerning domestic violence, children and their rights. The case raises an issue of an extreme domestic violence where one of the partners inflicts physical injury to the other partner. According to the law, domestic violence is a serious offence that has grave consequences for the perpetrator. The penalties for this crime increases with the intensity of the violence (Schneider, et al. 2007). However, for the law enforcement officers to prove there was violence, they have to consider several factors. A domestic violence case requires consideration of any sign of physical injuries, witnesses involved and the validity of the crime. When this evidence is clear, then the alleged abuser faces prosecution.
Another issue raised in this case is the safety of children in the face of the violence. The law protects children from any form of violence including domestic violence. Therefore, the abuser could face prosecution incase he or she turns to violently attacking children. Domestic violence at home affects children socially, emotionally and even behaviorally. Therefore, laws protecting the rights of children are necessary in this case to protect the children.
Many abusive situations involve several social, legal and ethical issues. The given scenario raises several such issues including dealing with the abuser according to the law and having to protect the children’s safety as an ethical issue. A counselor often faces several challenges both professionally and personally while working with a client of violence and thus an effective plan is necessary to work with the client. The give case raises the issue of domestic violence and the importance of protecting children from the impact of such violence.
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