The ethical standards identify behavioral expectations for victim assistance providers based on core values for the field. They are intended as guidelines that apply to a range of issues that may be encountered and addressed in the daily provision of victim services. The ethical standards apply only to the victim assistance provider’s work-related activities; that is, activities that are part of the provider’s professional functions or that deal distinctly with victim service issues. This includes activities conducted while the victim assistance provider is acting as a representative of the victim service program (e.g., at professional meetings), delivering victim services in the community (e.g., on volunteer crisis teams), and responding to professional information (e.g., maintaining the confidentiality of client information). Work-related activities should be viewed separately from the victim assistance provider’s wholly private conduct, which ordinarily is not within the scope of the ethical standards.
Each standard is composed of two parts:
- Standard statement: The standard statement is a declarative sentence outlining a clear expectation for ethical conduct.
- Standard commentary: The commentary clarifies the intent of the standard by providing narratives and examples. Although not all examples apply to individual situations, victim assistance providers are strongly encouraged to comply with the principles set forth in the standard commentary.
Professionals who are trained in another field (e.g., psychology, social work) but are engaging in victim services will abide by their own professional codes of ethics. If the ethical standards establish a higher standard of conduct than is required by law or another professional ethic, victim assistance providers should meet the higher ethical standard. If ethical standards appear to conflict with the requirements of law or another professional ethic, providers should take steps to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner.