What does it mean to practice youth work ethically? How does ethical theory relate to the youth work profession? What are the moral dilemmas confronting youth workers today, and how should practitioners respond? Youth Work Ethics examines these questions and more and should be on the reading lists of all youth work trainees and practitioners. A wide range of topics are covered, including: confidentiality; sexual propriety; dependence and empowerment; equity of provision; interprofessional working; managing dual relationships; working across cultures; working within an agency.

Ethical Theory

Ethical theory


As the last chapter indicated, there are a range of frameworks for thinking ethically. This chapter provides an overview of some of the key approaches to deciding whether an action is ethical or not. Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the chapter concludes with the possibility of using different frameworks depending on what the situation demands.

Ethical ideas have generally been grouped into three broad families: consequentialist (or teleological) theories, deontological theories, and virtue-based theories. There is a wide variety of conceptions within these groupings, of course, and other frameworks which don't fit easily into any of them, but this might help us get some perspective on the field at least.

Briefly, consequentialist theorists think that whether an action is ...

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