Legal & Ethical
School counselors face ethical and legal challenges every day. Whether you are new to the field or have been practicing for years, legal and ethical challenges can still throw you for a loop. From confidentiality issues to records maintenance, from duty of care to sexual harassment issues, a school counselor's legal and ethical questions can spring up from every corner. ASCA provides a number of resources and services to help members meet these legal and ethical challenges as comprehensively as possible.
ASCA's Ethical Standards for School Counselors, also available in Spanish, are the basis of ASCA's ethical program. ASCA also has Ethical Standards for School Counselor Education Faculty.
The association also publishes books and journal articles on legal and ethical issues, as well as addressing them in the members-only Resource Center. Each issue of ASCA School Counselor magazine contains an article written by the chair of ASCA's Ethics Committee about a legal or ethical issue. Read the articles.
View a variety of webinars on legal and ethical issues in school counseling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a legal or ethical question or challenge? Take a look at our frequently asked questions. If you can't find an answer there, post your question on the ASCA SCENE online community and get advice and suggestions from other school counselors or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child-Abuse Reporting: Does your state require school counselors to report suspected child abuse?
Legal and Ethical Specialist
Interested in improving your knowledge of school counseling legal and ethical issues? Become a Legal and Ethical Specialist with this online training program.
Prevention Toolkit for Suicide Awareness at the High School Level:
Youth Suicide “The Silent Epidemic” -Keeping More than Dreams Alive:
Suicide Prevention Education for School Personnel:
After a Suicide - A Toolkit for Schools:
Youth Suicide Warning Signs
Alabama Suicide and Resource Coalition
Sexual Abuse Prevention Information
Recommendations - Alabama Governor’s Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children:
Child Sexual Abuse: Assessment, Intervention and Prevention: Title IV-E Curriculum Module
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (2009)
Presents findings from a study conducted to investigate factors associated with the occurrence of child sexual abuse and the factors associated with recovery from sexual abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Risk Reduction: Literature Review for Parents and Guardians (PDF - 282 KB)
National Sexual Violence Resource Center & Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (2011)
Examines research on prevention efforts that target parents to increase their knowledge of child sexual abuse prevention and motivate parents to educate and protect children.
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Programs for Children
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (2011)
Describes child sexual abuse prevention programs designed to educate children, assists advocates and prevention educators in selecting or designing prevention programs, and provides evidence to make the case for the benefits of these programs to funders, parents, or the community at large.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (PDF - 314 KB)
Prevent Child Abuse New York (2010)
Makes specific recommendations for preventing child sexual abuse, including raising awareness of the unacceptability of child sexual abuse and promoting the notion that stopping child sexual abuse is everyone's responsibility; educating the public; evaluating and strengthening existing child sexual abuse prevention programs; shifting the prevention of child sexual abuse from children to adults; providing access to mental health services for victims of child sexual abuse; and exploring, evaluating, and strengthening new approaches to child sexual abuse.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (PDF - 2,498 KB)
Virginia Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services Unit & James Madison University, Department of Psychology (2010)
Virginia Child Protection Newsletter, 89
Discusses the effectiveness of child-focused sexual abuse prevention programs and offers suggestions for improving child- and parent-focused efforts. The article addresses recommendations for training professionals who interact with children, the management of sexual offenders, trends that indicate sex crimes against youth are declining, and the movement towards a prevention perspective.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Fact Sheet (PDF - 68 KB)
Prevent Child Abuse America (2013)
Explains the advocacy focus of Prevent Child Abuse America, which includes raising awareness of the unacceptability of sexual abuse and promoting the notion that stopping abuse is everyone's responsibility; educating the public and policymakers about the true nature of sexual abuse; evaluating and strengthening existing sexual abuse prevention programs; shifting the prevention of sexual abuse from children to adults; exploring, evaluating, and strengthening new approaches to prevent sexual abuse; and making mental health services available to all those affected by child sexual abuse.
Prevent Child Sexual Abuse: Facts About Sexual Abuse and How to Prevent It (PDF - 1321 KB)
Stop It Now! (2010)
Offers tips for talking with adults and children about preventing sexual abuse and includes guidance on what to do when abuse is suspected.
Protecting Your Children: Advice From Child Molesters (PDF - 149 KB)
Center for Behavioral Intervention (2010)
Describes typical child molesters, explains how they gain access to children, lists indications that a child is being molested, and provides tips for prevention and where to get help.
Stewards of Children
Darkness to Light
A child sexual abuse prevention program, offered in online and instructor-led formats, designed for child-serving organizations that teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to suspected abuse. The website provides video clips from the training, program evaluation information, and more.
Teaching Children and Parents About Child Sexual Abuse Prevention With the Safe Touches Program
Social Work Today, Web Exclusive
Highlights a curriculum developed by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) to prevent child sexual abuse. "Safe Touches: A Personal Safety Training for Children" has four goals: to provide information on the difference between safe and unsafe touching, to define for children the body parts that are considered private, to teach children who to go to when they feel unsafe or confused, and to teach children assertive language skills.
Transforming Communities to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: A Primary Prevention Approach (PDF - 210 KB)
Prevention Institute (2009)
Presents an approach to sexual abuse prevention that focuses on influencing policies and altering organizational practices in order to transform environments and keep children safe.