Mary is a social worker who is working in a shelter for battered women. She has just concluded an interview with Ann Jones, a battered mother of three. Mrs. Jones tells Mary that she is going to live with her mother in another state but before she does that, she is going to get even with her husband for all the hurt he has caused her. When Mary asks Mrs. Jones what she intends to do, Mrs. Jones says that she is going to burn her husband’s house down. When Mary tries to point out the problems this plan will cause Mrs. Jones, the woman says that she doesn’t care—her husband deserves it. After saying this, Mrs. Jones bursts out of Mary’s office and the shelter, stating that she intends to burn the house down this afternoon. Mary is now sitting alone in her office, thinking about this case. What should she do?
Indicate the legal guidelines (discussed in the chapter) that would require Mary to immediately inform both the police and Mr. Jones (the intended victim) of Mrs. Jones’ stated intentions to burn the house down. Discuss when to uphold, and when to violate confidentiality.
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