Practising ethically during COVID-19: Social work challenges and responses

Authors Sarah Banks, Tian Cai, Ed de Jonge, Jane Shears, Michelle Shum, Ana M. Sobočan, Kim Strom, Rory Truell, Maria Jesús Úriz, Merlinda Weinberg
Published in International Social Work
Publication date 1 August 2020
Research groups Living and Wellbeing
Type Article


This article draws on findings of an international study of social workers’ ethical challenges during COVID-19, based on 607 responses to a qualitative survey. Ethical challenges included the following: maintaining trust, privacy, dignity and service user autonomy in remote relationships; allocating limited resources; balancing rights and needs of different parties; deciding whether to break or bend policies in the interests of service users; and handling emotions and ensuring care of self and colleagues. The article considers regional contrasts, the ‘ethical logistics’ of complex decision-making, the impact of societal inequities, and lessons for social workers and professional practice around the globe.

On this publication contributed

  • Ed de Jonge | Researcher | Innovative Social Services
    Ed de Jonge
    • Researcher
    • Research group: Living and Wellbeing

Language English
Published in International Social Work
Year and volume 63 5
Key words covid-19, ethical logistics, Ethics, inequities, pandemic, Social work
Digital Object Identifier
Page range 569-583

Living and Wellbeing