ETH402 Vulnerability and the Ethics of Intervention (8)

Using a problem based focus, this subject explores the relationship between current social welfare practice and policy, ethical theory and ethical principles, and the issue of intervention in the lives of vulnerable adults and children. Issues of legal capacity, autonomy, paternalism, coercion and privacy are considered. The subject also examines the ethics of care and concomitant legal duties to care, including good samaritanism.


Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ETH402. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the dominant ethical theories that form the basis of human service practice, and the processes of ethical reasoning and ethical judgment
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of relationship between law and policy affecting vulnerable adults and children and the ethical principles of autonomy and beneficence
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the ethics of intervention, issues of acceptable paternalism and coercion, and the rights of individuals, groups and communities to be left alone
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the ethics of care, the duty to care, and the concept of good samaritanism.


This subject will cover the following topics:

1. Ethical Principles of Autonomy and Beneficence 2. Paternalism and Coercion; Justice and Rights 3. "Am I my parents' or neighbour's keeper?" Obligation, responsibility and the Duty to Care 4. Good Samaritanism 5. Parens Patriae, the State and vulnerable populations 6. Capacity and the limits of acceptable paternalism 7. Privacy and the right to be left alone

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ETH402 in Session 2 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Short essay 1
Short essay 2
Review exercise

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: July 2020. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.