Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University Handbook 2010 Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2010 (Day)
Caulfield First semester 2010 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Bernadette Saunders


This unit introduces students to the history and evolution of the international human rights regime, current debates about human rights locally, nationally and internationally, as well as ethical codes and decision-making processes as they apply to social work practice. The unit provides opportunities for students to explore the foundations of the Australian legal system in a human rights framework and the legal contexts within which social workers practice. The unit addresses concepts of moral philosophy underpinning the AASW Code of Ethics and explores the foundations of ethical decision-making. In line with Monash University's commitment to human rights and social justice, the unit has an overarching human rights approach, within which legal and ethical practice occurs.


At completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Utilise a human rights framework in a social work practice situation;
  2. Describe the history and current context of the international human rights regime;
  3. Demonstrate a beginning knowledge of local, national and international legal; systems and how they interface with social work practice;
  4. Interpret and critique legislation relevant to social work practice;
  5. Implement a process of ethical decision-making, making use of the AASW Code of Ethics and other relevant tools;
  6. Analyse ethical and legal issues relevant to social work practice;
  7. Reflect critically on their approach to human rights and ethical issues;
  8. Write required reports on human rights, ethics and law issues.


The assessment requirement for the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) 6 point subject Human Rights, Law and Ethics Contexts for Social Work Practice is the completion of three assessment tasks:

Hurdle requirement (Completion requirement) requiring participation in a small group discussion in the classroom or online. The student will be required to research a contemporary human rights, ethical or legal issue, present the issue to the group and offer, for discussion, an analysis of its implications for social work practice.

A written critique of the impact on social work practice of a piece of Australian State or Federal legislation (1500 words and 40%)

A major essay on a social work practice issue relating to human rights, ethics and legal contexts (3000 wordsand 60%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Bernadette Saunders

Off-campus attendance requirements

The unit runs for 13 weeks. Students are expected to undertake 156 hours per semester study. Students are expected to use their study time to attend on-campus lectures and workshops, undertake the weekly unit tasks as set out in the Unit Outline and in the off-campus Unit Guide.