Editorial comment. 04/09/09: clarity on boundaries needed

The fact that 98% of social workers surveyed by Community Care think it is never acceptable to have sexual relations with a client shows that the vast majority know the moral and professional standards required of them.

But the survey shows there are significant differences of opinion over relationships with former clients whether the age of a client should influence the punishment for those who transgress and whether what social workers do in their spare time should be subject to the conduct process.

These findings underline the need for greater clarity on what is and isn’t acceptable, and illustrate why 87% want a code of conduct on sexual boundaries. And with most social workers witnessing some form of inappropriate behaviour by colleagues action is needed soon.

• See more on conduct, pages 16-19

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