Inter-Office Memo Essay

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TO: All Employees FROM: Samantha Jones DATE: July 11, 1976 SUBJECT: Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California I am writing this memo to inform all staff of a new legislation as a result of the ruling in the case of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California. The California Supreme Court stated, “When a therapist determines, or pursuant to the standards of his profession should determine, that his patient presents a serious danger of violence to another, he incurs an obligation to use reasonable care to protect the intended victim against such danger.” (Woodside, 2012) “The discharge of this duty may require you to take one or more steps, depending on the nature of the case. Thus, it may call for you to warn the intended victim or others likely to apprise the victim of the danger, to notify the police, or to take whatever other steps are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.” (Woodside, 2012) This recent legislation is not a breach of trust or a violation of professional ethics but rather a “duty to warn and a duty to protect.” Like all members of this profession, our code of ethics reflects our concerns and clarifies our responsibility as professionals to clients, our agency and society. Our duty as helpers in this field is first to enhance and secure the client’s welfare and the law is still supportive of our ethical codes and standards, but as a result of the Tarasoff case, the law now intervenes and may possibly override certain aspects of our code of ethics; this will happen only when necessary to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. Standards of confidentiality, which are very necessary to ensure effective treatment, are affected primarily by this new legislation. Confidential communication between client and helper still remain a major priority, as open and confidential characteristics of a helping

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