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Rehabilitation Counselling
Association of Australasia

The Code of Professional Ethics

Under the Code of Professional Ethics Rehabilitation Counsellors are committed to facilitating the personal, social, and economic independence of individuals with disabilities and/or individuals who experience social disadvantage. In fulfilling this commitment, Rehabilitation Counsellors work with people, programs, institutions, and service delivery systems. Rehabilitation Counsellors provide services for rehabilitation counselling and recognise that both action and inaction can be facilitating or debilitating. It is essential that Rehabilitation Counsellors demonstrate adherence to ethical standards and ensure that the standards are enforced vigorously. The Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counsellors, henceforth referred to as the Code, is designed to facilitate these goals.

The fundamental spirit of caring and respect with which the Code is written is based upon five principles of ethical behaviour.* These include autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, and fidelity, as defined below:

Autonomy: To honour the right to make individual decisions.

Beneficence: To do good to others.

Non-maleficence: To do no harm to others.

Justice: To be fair and give equally to others.

Fidelity: To be loyal, honest, and keep promises.

The primary obligation of Rehabilitation Counsellors is to their clients, defined in the Code as individuals with disabilities and/or disadvantage who are receiving services from Rehabilitation Counsellors.

Regardless of whether direct client contact occurs or whether indirect services are provided, Rehabilitation Counsellors are obligated to adhere to the Code. At times, rehabilitation counselling services may be provided to individuals other than those with disabilities or experiencing social disadvantage, such as a student population. In all instances, the primary obligation remains with the client and adherence to the Code is required.

The basic objective of the Code is to promote public welfare by specifying ethical counselling expected of Rehabilitation Counsellors. The Enforceable Standards within the Code are the exacting standards intended to provide guidance in specific circumstances and will serve as the basis for processing ethical complaints initiated against members.

Rehabilitation Counsellors who violate the Code are subject to disciplinary action. RCAA reserves unto itself the power to suspend or to revoke the privilege or to approve other penalties for a violation. Disciplinary penalties are imposed as warranted by the severity of the offence and its attendant circumstances. All disciplinary actions are undertaken in accordance with published procedures and penalties designed to assure the proper enforcement of the Code within the framework of due process and equal protection under the law.
* Beauchamp, T.L., & Childress, J.F. (1994), 4th Ed. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A copy of the Code of Ethics is available via the following link.

For an alternative format, please email admin@rcaa.org.au

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