Re: ethics of my intervention

John Glasscock (jglassco@UCS.INDIANA.EDU)
Sat, 12 Mar 1994 13:56:41 -0400

Professional ethics regarding confidentiality ARE important. There are
several things that could be done.

1. Ideally, you could talk the kid into giving himself up, detailing to
him with testimony from others who have been in his situation what his
options are if he continues on the same track. Moreover, those people
can give him a POSITIVE alternative.

2. There are conditions under which competing ethical standards must be
prioritized, especially if there is immanent danger, not particularly to
yourself, but to others. You are not an innocent victim: you chose to
put yourself in the situation. Others, e.g., mother and sister, people
in the community, are deserving of protection.

3. Consult an ethics professor for advice on how to approach the
problem. Some people feel more at ease dealing with a "clergy" person,
some of whom are perhaps competent to deal with situations like this.
In your position I would be more comfortable with advice from a science
or social science background.

4. In all cases, document every contact with this young person. You
probably should consult with an attorney to find out what your legal
responsibilities are, and what you should do to protect yourself (and
maintain your commitment of confidentiality with your informant).

Good luck. You are not alone in facing difficult problems like this.

John Glasscock Ether_Dog^:>
Indiana University
100 N. Jefferson
Bloomington, IN 47408 tel: 812-336-0246