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Ethical standards checklist


An ethical standards checklist for engaging in domestic violence primary prevention work

It is important to ensure domestic and family violence prevention initiatives meet high ethical standards at each stage of the planning and implementation process. This is part of best practice and risk management.

The following checklist is based on a self-assessment tool developed by the Australian Community Workers Association. Be sure to adapt and review this checklist to meet your needs.

Is there a code of ethics in local government for working with the community?

Consider reviewing the Community Workers Association website to familiarise yourself with these considerations. If the answer is ‘yes’, ensure those involved in domestic and family violence prevention initiatives are familiar with it.

Have you identified a person or resource that can be referred to if there is an ethical issue?

Universities often will have human research ethics committees that can provide approval for initiatives or research. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines may also be consulted. 

Are workplace policies aligned and adequate in relation to planned domestic and family violence prevention activities?

Are there any policy gaps that may impact on participants, employees or volunteers? For example, are there adequate insurances in place? 

Are the personal beliefs, values and foundational knowledge of those engaged in implementation (including volunteers, champions, leaders, employees) of a suitable standard?

Consider developing a selection criteria for volunteers and champions.

Is there a plan and process to manage disclosures? Is there a plan to manage backlash and resistance? Is there a plan to properly manage personal information that may be collected and stored?

Only collect necessary information and ensure there is an understanding of how and when it will be destroyed.

Seek advice from your employer if you are unsure how to collect, store and destroy information.

Is feedback encouraged and are details made available for making complaints? Is diversity and inclusion encouraged at all stages of planning, delivery and monitoring and evaluation? Is there a review process in place to ensure that material is using language that is appropriate to different community groups?

This may include: having material translated; using correct terms/appropriate language; and/or raising discussions about domestic and family violence in ways that the community is ready for.

Are informed consent forms issued to participants before any sensitive or confidential information is shared including photographs? Are the circumstances where there is a legal obligation to disclose information well understood?

Each jurisdiction has different requirements on mandatory reporting. Be familiar with how this affects your role.

Have you ensured there is a commitment to treat all people with respect, honesty and dignity?

This can be as simple as a reference to the code of conduct or establishing ‘house rules’ at the beginning of a workshop.

Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.