Respect is an important aspect of everyday life. It is part of the things most of us learn as children (‘respect your elders, teachers, others’) and we are expected to demonstrate respect for others in our dealings with people at work, school, on the roads, whilst we are shopping, and in our dealings with public institutions. We expect, too, that we should enjoy recognition and regard from others in turn. Chenoweth and McAuliffe (2015) consider respect for persons to be a core value of professional social work practice. Moreover, they consider this value as part of a system of ethics that informs the social work profession. The value of respect is also often placed in the context of human rights and social justice (British Association of Social Workers, 2014; International Federation of Social Workers, 2012; National Association of Social Workers, 2016). We see respect and its fellow term, dignity, as a foundational value for human rights (Chapter 9, this volume) and ideas about social justice and injustice (Chapter 8, this volume). Likewise, Chenoweth and McAuliffe (2015, p. 69) suggest that respect for persons sits alongside other values also important for social work. These are values about respecting difference and diversity; maintaining a belief in the ability of people to make positive change; values about the rights of people to make choices about their circumstances and decisions; the right of people to privacy and confidentiality; valuing the environment; and the rights of people to be able to access services that have integrity.
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