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How to make an ethics complaint

COVID-19 Update

The purpose of this update is to inform you of the continued operations of the Ethics Complaint Management Process during the COVID-19 pandemic. This update also provides some suggestions about how to engage with the AASW.

Much has occurred since March 2020. The AASWs operations have had to be substantially adjusted since the beginning of March this year. Like many institutions and organisations, the AASW has had to engage in a long-term digital transformation. Staff are working remotely to ensure government protocols upheld.

Whilst the Ethics Complaint Management Process continues to receive and respond to complaints, please note that during this transition period to online and remote service delivery, there may be some additional wait-times. We will however continue to keep you informed as to the status of your complaint.

We thank you for your patience during these challenging times.

For any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the complaint team via email ethicscomplaint@aasw.asn.au.

Making a complaint

Members of the community can use our Ethics Complaints Management Process to make allegations of serious ethical professional misconduct by AASW members.

The AASW's Ethics Complaints Management Process:

  • Protects the public (users of social work services) from harm by determining the minimum acceptable ethical practice standards of social workers (AASW members)
  • Addresses allegations of serious ethical professional misconduct, with possible consequences of AASW membership ineligibility
  • Educates and supports member social workers to ensure that their practice meets, and where possible exceeds, the minimum standard.

How do I know if my concerns are matters of serious ethical misconduct?

The AASW recognises that complaints are generally made in good faith. All complaints are taken seriously and given careful and respectful consideration, but the AASW can only respond to complaints which relate to allegations of serious ethical professional misconduct.

Before making a complaint, please read the Information for complainants regarding serious ethical misconduct and complete the Checklist for complainants.

These documents are designed to:

  • explain the purpose of the AASW Ethics Complaints Management Process (ECMP);
  • provide information and guidance about serious ethical misconduct;
  • assist you with the process of making a complaint;
  • ensure that the AASW Ethics Complaints Management Process (ECMP) is the right process to address your particular concerns;
  • ensure that you have all the required information about the ECMP prior to proceeding.

What if the complaint relates to a Family Court matter?

The AASW is prohibited by law from receiving and responding to complaints that relate to proceedings of the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Please read our Information Sheet for more information, and options for resolving your concerns.

Who can I contact to discuss a potential complaint?

The AASW can provide information and guidance about the Ethics Complaints Management Process.

The Ethics Complaints team can be contacted at ethicscomplaint@aasw.asn.au or telephone 03 9320 1044.

Explain in brief if you think a person may have acted unethically.

We can also provide you with information about other options for addressing your concerns.

Before making a complaint

Please read the following documents:

To submit a complaint

Please complete and sign the following document:

You may submit your ethics complaint to AASW either by email to ethicscomplaint@aasw.asn.au or by post to PO Box 2008, Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC, 3050.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers