Ethical practice

A number of ethical issues are likely to arise in the implementation of peer support services. The most important topics raised in discussions with collaborating youth agencies are consolidated in this section and a number of solutions in anticipating and confronting ethical issues are offered. Where available the findings are supported by the relevant literature in this area. The recommendations serve as a resource for agencies and programs to refer to in order to raise their awareness of what type of issues they can potentially encounter and how they can avoid or manage these better.

The roles and functions of a peer support program demand that they are conducted in an ethical manner that emphasises a client centred approach which supports the participation of young people and recognises their right to feel safe and valued. Some of the key issues related to ethical practice in peer support programs include accountability, actively involving volunteers and young people, managing and maintaining boundaries, ensuring an understanding of confidentiality and its limits, and implementing duty of care policy which protects young people undertaking peer support roles, the peers they are supporting and the agencies to which they are attached.

Read more about these specific areas: