Fostering Dignity and Respect
Ethical principles are philosophical stances that indirectly or directly based on ethical standards. They serve as a comprehensive framework within which specific ethical dilemmas might be evaluated and analysed. The ethics are characterised as moral principles that control or manage an individual or group's behaviour. In this assessment, a case study of a couple with some sort of learning disabilities will be discussed. Based on the understanding of the case, three questions will be elucidated. The first one will talk about the principles of ethics that are affected in the case. The second question will highlight the use and applicability of communication and interpersonal skills in supporting respect and dignity in the case study. In the last question, the self-reflection on overall learning and development will be discussed in the same context.
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Question 1: Identity which principles of ethics, such as, dignity, respect, freedom, rights, and responsibilities have been affected in this case study?
Before discussing the case study, it is important to understand the principles of ethics. These principles can be applied anywhere whether it is professional lives or interpersonal relationships. The principles are designed very well to control and govern the behaviour and to take guidance for the resolving common ethical issues. There are five principles of ethics based on which the following case study is reviewed and analysed. The first one is autonomy that says each and every person is a free agent. Individuals are free to make decisions about their lives and how they want to live it. The only condition is that their decisions should not cause any harm to other persons. A human being is free to make choices and take decisions for their betterment (Dimond, 2016). The next is non-maleficence that is characterised with the right to interact with other until a person is not risking others. The next is beneficence which is associated with the actions that should encourage good health and well-being of others. In the present case study, these two principles are not very much discussed or incorporated as the case is a bit different. The next is justice that means being fair. It is important for the member to act with respect and equality with others. The case study is strongly based on the violation of this principle. The last principle is fidelity that is characterised by being truthful, respectful, and loyal. A part of the case will also outline this principle.
In the case study, a couple with learning disabilities was dragged unfairly in the litigation. Based on the case study, one can clearly see that social care professionals were in a hurry to make ill-informed judgements about the couple's ability to be in a marital relationship or keep sexual relations. This clearly affects their human rights and freedom. It is pretty much clear in the case that Sarah was clear about her life and her decision. According to the principle of ethics, every individual is a free agent and has a right to act. This means Sarah, being a human is free to make important decisions of her life as long as that decisions do not harm or affect the lives of other people around her (Dawson, 2015). Sarah's autonomy has been affected in the case as she also has the freedom of choice and thought. In addition to this, this is injustice with the couple. In another word, the social care service is trying to be unfair and disrespectful. According to the principle of fidelity, being truthful, loyalty, and promise-keeping towards each other before marriage is important for the couple. Sarah and Daniel have a free choice in a relationship.
The authority of social care is basing their argument on the Mental Capacity Act. Section 1 of the Act states that a person must be assumed capable until it is proved that he lacks the required capacity (Dimond, 2016). In order to test her capacity, the local authority of the social care team carried out an assessment against Sarah's wish. The test was designed to determine whether she is able or not to get married or have sexual relations without getting exploited or at high risk of abuse. This is violating the principle of justice that is based on fairness, equality, and equitable treatment. Sarah and Daniel should be treated with respect and equality by the social group like they treat a normal person. They should respect her freedom to choose and right to marry anyone of her choice. They might be having a bad grasp of the Mental Capacity Act. The assessment was invasive as it does not guarantee or warrantee her capability to handle a marital life or sexual relations with anyone of her choice. Probably, they lack the knowledge to use the test. In the UK, the English Legal System has provided everyone a right to marry. The couple with the learning disability also has a right to marry. Stopping them from getting into a legal relationship is not only heartbreaking but also a serious violation of human rights. This might be due to the reason that society makes quick prejudice about such people and make ill-informed judgements about their abilities (Dawson, 2015).
The local social care team might be fearing the mishap that might take place in the future with Sarah. For that purpose, they are grounding on the Mental Capacity Act. However, the act says that it is important to make decisions about the person when he/she is in most alert stage and is in the setting that makes him/her comfortable. The local social care is most concerned about Sarah's health and future exploitation in the relationship (Ryan, 2014). However, as per Sarah's family, it is her decision to marry Daniel. She knows very well about the consequences of her decision and what might happen to Daniel. She understands what exactly she wants for her wedding. According to Thompson, Sarah wants to keep her surname after marriage. All these prove that she is mentally stable for getting into marital status. Denying her from getting married based on the assessment which she could not pass is not ethically right and is a violation of human rights and legal freedom given by the English legal system and the constitution.
- Dawson, J., 2015. A realistic approach to assessing mental health laws' compliance with the UNCRPD. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 40, pp.70-79.
- Dimond, B.C., 2016. Legal Aspects of Mental Capacity: A Practical Guide for Health and Social Care Professionals. John Wiley & Sons.
- Ryan, F. (2014). Couples with learning disabilities face unfair wedding bar | Frances Ryan. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/17/couples-learning-disabilities-denied-marriage-sexual-relations [Accessed 25 Jan. 2019].