Forensic Social Work

– Here, the first thing to notice about is social worker is different from an advocate. Social workers can be called to court for testimony. They work for the court not for the one who retained him. Court relies on his testimony and expert witness of the truth. To testify as a fact, the testimony should provide proper and reliable evidences like any documentary evidence, physical evidence, digital evidence, demonstrative evidence, or scientific evidence. As an expert witness, the social worker can use his/her expertise to express his views and opinions on the case. He can use logics and general sense.

The main difference between the fact and expert witness is, a fact is always related to the information that is related to the case, where is the expert witnessing is opinion of that particular expert with no relation to the facts and possibilities of situations related to the case. It is totally indifference to the expert what the board believes about his answer, but he should answer exactly what he is questioned about. “The expert is before it simply to tell the truth and to give his opinion and what weight the Board attaches to his evidence should be absolutely no concern of the expert” ( Hodgson.

2004, p. 6). Question 2 - Jane Thomas, MSW, GSW (MSW = masters in social work; GSW generalist in social work, next level up from a MSW) has been subpoenaed by the Office of Family Service to testify on behalf of a child that has been placed in states custody. What are some of the things she should do in order for her testimony to be effective? Answer 2 – As a Social Worker, the primary focus of Jane Thomas is to operate in the best interest of the child throughout the evaluation process and court proceedings too.

She should be impartial in the proceeding regardless by whom she was retained. She should not accept any of the involved participants as therapy client as it is to be undertaken with extreme caution. Custody evaluation depends on the question or issue raised. The evaluation of parents or guardians, and the child is required. She has to take note of the interaction between parents/guardians and the child. To testify on behalf of a child, she should also need a interview from the child, and interview from parents/guardian.

Finally she has to submit reports to the parties and also to the court, and she should testify under oath as facts and she can give her expert opinion at the court. She should also be aware of the legal preferences related to joint custody. Question 3 - Many times children are requested to testify in court, do you personally think the testimony of children aged 6-8 is reliable? When compared to elders, children are better giving a testimony. But they are not always reliable. Children aged between 6 and 8 years are generally playful, and they are tensionless.

They do not know the real consequences of situations related to crimes. They are mostly influenced with the people around them. One can rely on testimony of a child mostly. But there is a chance that the child tells lie, under the influence or pressure from someone related to the child, or someone can emotionally blackmail the child to hide the facts and tell as story at the court or at a social worker or at an advocate. Another issue that attracts children to listen to elders when they were offered with a bribe something that they like.

The person who is trying to mislead the case can use such opportunity to make the child twist the facts to a story. But the social worker or advocate can work smartly to collect the facts from the child, motivating him slowly. This can be done by developing the intimacy with the child often and knowing his interests, likes, and times one needs to play with the kid to get closer to him. Children generally does not lie to someone they consider them as their person. “children’s reliability as witnesses is controversial.

Many juries are sceptical of testimony given by children under 11 years of age. The research suggests that younger children are less reliable as witnesses” (Cake. 2006). Question 1 - Summarize in your own words the criteria for malpractice liability. Answer 1 – Malpractice occurs mainly because of the carelessness or lack of the skills of a professional like Doctor, Lawyer, or Engineer, and causes harm to the client. A professional is differed from an ordinary man mainly because of the skills and discipline he possess in the field, and he should have minimum amount of competence.

To recover damage in any malpractice action, the plaintiff should prove minimum four elements : that the professional owed the client the duty to conform to a particular standard of conduct, that the professional breached the duty by some act of omission, that the client suffered actual damage, and that professional conduct was direct or proximate cause of the damage (Reamer, 1994). Some professionals do not care about the dangers of the malpractice and they knowingly follow it, and cause harm to innocent client, and they also try in different ways to hide the identification of their malpractice which is again another crime.

Malpractice is very dangerous to that victim and also to the society. Professional who are involved in malpractice should be cancelled with their certifications of profession and should be punished badly. Question 2 - Summarize in your own words why 1) Malpractice Suits for Incorrect Treatment and 2) Treatment Without Informed Consent can be justified as a malpractice claim against a social worker. Malpractice suits for incorrect treatment: A wrong medical treatment that cause harm to the patient's health or finance because of doctor's incompetence or negligence is a malpractice.

Consequences out of doctor's incompetence or ignorance fall under civil suit, where as incorrect or wrongful treatment will fall under crime and result in criminal charges against him/her when he/she is found guilty of the crime. Such medical malpractices cause significantly huge damage to the patient. Treatment Without Informed Consent: An informed consent agreement is must between a doctor and the patient before any major diagnosis. The patient should be acknowledge about his health condition, purpose and nature of the intervention, consequences, alternatives, risks involved and the prognosis in the absence of the intervention.

It is said to be a malpractice if any of these things are not brought to the knowledge of the patient before to the actual diagnosis. Emergency cases and incompetence are exceptions. Question 1 - Summarize when a social worker should seek legal help, and what the primary goals should be when a social worker needs hire a lawyer to defend him/her in court. Answer 1 – Social worker can seek legal help when someone is threatening him to stop his job and trying to misuse their influence to stop his work done.

He also can approach the court seeking any support to help him in his job. He can hire a lawyer when there are any false allegations against him were filed by anyone, trying to prove his evaluations as wrong.

References John Hodgson. (2004). The Role of The Expert Witness- A Court Perspective. 6. Takethe Cake. (2006). How Reliable are Young Children as Eye Witnesses. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from http://www. echeat. com/essay. php? t=28408 Reamer, Frederic G. (1994) Social Work Malpractice and Liability.... Stanley International Social Work. 1995; 38: 407-409

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