Singapore University of Social Sciences

Legal and Ethical Issues in Helping Professions (SWK201)


Understanding the legal provisions in the social service settings in Singapore is crucial to social workers. This course helps students to understand a wide range This course explores the legal provisions in the social service settings in Singapore and helps students to understand a wide range of issues concerning these legislations. It also looks at the social worker as a person and as a professional and how he/she should apply ethical standards in practice with reference to the Code of Professional Ethics of the Singapore Association for Social Workers (SASW).

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every semester
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, This will be administered on-campus.


  • Introduction to ethics
  • SASW Code of professional ethics
  • Fundamentals of ethical decision making
  • Ethical decision making process
  • Legislations concerning vulnerable groups
  • Ethical dilemmas
  • Social worker's ethical responsibility to clients
  • Social worker's responsibility to colleagues
  • Social worker's responsibility to practice settings
  • Social worker's responsibility as professionals
  • Social worker's responsibilty to the profession
  • Social worker's responsibility to society

Learning Outcome

  • Explain the legal provisions affecting social services and how to function within the court system.
  • Analyze commonly encountered ethical dilemmas in all areas of social work practice.
  • Examine the framework for analyzing and resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • Demonstrate how legislations impact the social worker, the agency, and the clients.
  • Discuss the Singapore Association of Social Workers' Code of Professional Ethics
  • Apply the value of the profession.
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