The topic for the assessment is domestic violence. Domestic violence is the abuse of a partner or a family member by another especially through aggression (Nicholas & Maistry, 2010). The setting of the assessment is in the workplace. In this setting, one of the workers called Elizabeth Jennings is facing adverse domestic violence from her husband. The genogram of Elizabeth is simply because her family background is not an extended family but a nuclear family. Elizabeth is the daughter of Charles Jennings and Miriam Jennings. She has three siblings and grew peacefully in a family of six members. Her grandfather is the late Johnston Jennings while her grandmother is Laura Jennings. However, Elizabeth cannot understand her genogram beyond the grandparents.
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Elizabeth is currently married to Joshua Brookes. Joshua is the son of Brian Jefferson and Lilian Jefferson. Together with his sister, Joshua grew in a family of four but his parents divorced when he was fourteen years old. From the interview, Elizabeth indicates that she does not know Joshua’s genogram beyond his immediate parents. This shows that she does not understand the characters that might have shaped her husband’s behavior. From the responses she gave, it is evident that Joshua picked the violent behavior from his father Brian Jefferson. She explains that her spouse inflicted mental, physical, and sometimes sexual violence which translated into psychological pain.
The intervention is to understand Elizabeth’s situation and present her with a solution or alternatives to choose from. Domestic violence that Elizabeth is facing takes many forms of abuse such as physical abuse, assault, and threats among other forms (Nicholas & Maistry, 2010). Domestic violence is the voice behind her husband’s parents divorced and is the cause of many failed relationships. In particular, domestic violence against women in marriage like Elizabeth is the cause of her current situation and low morale at work. Intervention, in this case, will involve listening to Elizabeth and understanding her situation regarding the violence.
NASW Standards and Ethical Values
The first NASW Standard is a social workers’ challenge to social justice as depicted by the value of social justice (NASW, 2013). From the interview with Elizabeth, it is evident that the principle of social justice is being violated by her husband Joshua. Through her suffering and physical assaults, it is clear she is the aggrieved party. According to NASW (2013), it is against the rules of social justice for such an abuse of rights and respect to go on without intervention.
The second NASW Standard is a social workers’ dedication to helping people in need as directed by the value of the service (NASW, 2013). This principle is the main motivation for social workers to get involved in solving her case. This stand was achieved through a series of interviews which gave social workers the chance to objectively listen, understand, and solve the case.
The third NASW Standard is Social workers’ respect for human dignity and worth as directed by the value of human dignity and personal worth (NASW, 2013). This principle will enable social workers involved in Elizabeth’s case to help him realize her worth and dignity. However, there is a conflicting view between these NASW Standards. The final NASW Standard recommends that social workers should respect human relationships. According to NASW (2013), social workers should respect relationships. This means that they should not interfere with the marriage between Joshua and Elizabeth. This should be upheld despite the problem of domestic violence. It is impractical though to follow the standard since Elizabeth is suffering from the situation. Therefore, the standard conflicts with other NASW principles. If this were to be followed, social workers will not recommend Elizabeth to leave her violent husband which will not uphold her worth and dignity.
In advocating for Elizabeth, social workers will apply the principle of social justice, human dignity, and service to society. There are two options for Elizabeth to get out of the situation she is facing. The first is to file for divorce and quit the two-year-long marriage with Joshua. This will mean that she will end her marriage but will uphold her dignity as a person. The second option for Elizabeth is to hold on to her husband and seek marriage counseling.
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This option will give Elizabeth the chance to try and convince her husband to avoid violent acts against her. The success of this option will leave her marriage in place without cases of divorce (Colby & Dziegielewski, 2009). This option will also offer social workers an opportunity to talk to the husband or to recommend counseling. However, it is a dangerous option since the husband may get even more violent. Such violence may lead to the death of either of the two or both.
According to Bhanti (2005), women are the most affected by such violence that ends up with death in most cases. For instance, Mr. Cavett killed his wife Jessie Doyle in a case of domestic violence which was not reported to the police (Tomlinson, 2013). In this case, police could not help because the situation was not reported as it persisted. This leaves Elizabeth with the option of divorce if the case of Cavett and Jessie can be used as a point of reference.
The current dilemma for social workers as presented by the case is whether to advise Elizabeth on the two options. Social workers will be divided on whether to recommend divorce to Elizabeth and end her marriage or to maintain her marriage but face the risks of violence.
The best plan is to take Elizabeth into a social workers’ residential safe house from where she can apply personal values and think over her situation. If she decides to file for divorce, the social worker’s office will assist her with the procedures. At the safe house, she can attend counseling sessions to restore her human dignity and ease her psychological wounds. Also, she can learn why she should make a wise decision that will end her suffering. Alternatively, she can go back to her parents from where social workers can attend to her case.
The dignity and personal worth of Elizabeth are abused by her violent husband. The intervention of social workers is aimed at establishing a solution for her based on NASW standards and values. However, options to the solution present a dilemma to Elizabeth and social workers. To uphold her dignity, a divorce or separation is the best option but to respect human relationships, Elizabeth’s life will be put under risk. This is because domestic violence is a dangerous behavior that can lead to death.
Bhanti, R., (2005). Social Work Practices and Services: A Compendium. India: New Delhi, Mittal Publications
Colby, C., & Dziegielewski, S. (2009). Introduction to Social Work: The People’s Profession. United States: Chicago, Lyceum Books, Incorporated
NASW (2013). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Web.
Nicholas, L., & Maistry, M. (2010). Introduction to Social Work. South Africa: Capetown, Juta & Company Publishing
Tomlinson, S. (2013). ‘Josh shot Mommy,’ girl tells police in alleged domestic violence killing of Gresham woman. Web.