SPAN has a comprehensive Code of Ethics that all staff and volunteers must learn and abide by. The SPAN code of ethics includes a set of “Non-Negotiables” (i.e. guidelines for the SPAN board of directors, staff, interns, and volunteers); as well as documentation on “Ethical Communication;” and the SPAN Employee Handbook. To ensure the thorough integration of these policies into the day-to-day operations at SPAN, all candidates for SPAN staff positions are provided the “Non-Negotiables” and “Ethical Communication” documentation prior to their interview, and questions about these documents are incorporated into the interview process. All SPAN volunteers receive the “Non-Negotiables” and “Ethical Communication” documentation during their interview with the Volunteer Coordinator. Expectations are clearly stated that all staff and volunteers must abide by the SPAN Code of Ethics.
All SPAN staff, Board Members, and program volunteers are required to complete a 44-hour, month long training designed to enhance participants’ awareness of social justice issues, the dynamics of abuse, and to develop greater awareness of the various systems of oppression. A collateral benefit of the training is to inculcate new SPAN community members with the core vision, values and ethics that drive the organization’s mission. Throughout the training participants develop active listening skills and practice ethical communication while learning about SPAN’s programs, procedures and philosophy in order to support survivors and their families in the best way possible.
Another way in which the SPAN Code of Ethics is reinforced in day-to-day operations is the utilization of a “Legal Advocacy Client Rights Disclosure” and a “Counseling Disclosure Form.” Both of these disclosures are available in English and Spanish and are given to clients so as to inform them of the organization’s commitment to a high standard of ethical service as well as outline the actions that a client may take if they feel that their counselor or advocate is not acting in adherence with the SPAN Code of Ethics.