Peer Support Guiding Principles
All of Assist’s Peer Support programs, both formal and informal, adhere to the following key principles:
- The safety and security of all parties involved with and affected by the program is of paramount importance.
- We (including our volunteers) adhere to principles of strict confidentiality and ethics, within legal and ethical boundaries, in all situations.
- All interactions are discreet, confidential, ethical and respectful.
- We screen, train, and support all Peer Support volunteers.
- Our volunteers do not provide legal, medical, or financial advice to participants. Assist peer support volunteers do not provide direct support to a participant that is beyond the volunteer’s competency. We provide referrals in these situations, where appropriate.
- Peer Support does not take the place of professional help or twelve-step support.
- We measure the progress and success of the program always respecting the boundaries of confidentiality.
The Peer-to-Peer Relationship Principles
Peer Support volunteers are trained in, and apply, the following principles in their interactions with lawyers and students in Assist’s programs:
- Peer support volunteers listen and share their experiences, strengths and hope.
- Peer support volunteers may provide referrals to appropriate resources, where appropriate.
- Individuality is respected, while commonality of experience is recognized as a critical component in a successful matched peer support relationship.
- Peer support volunteers and participants are welcome, at any time, to discuss with each other or Assist’s Program Coordinator or Executive Director, free of judgment, whether the relationship is compatible. Upon request from either party, Assist’s Program Coordinator or Executive Director will facilitate a change.
- Peer support volunteers must set personal boundaries. The goal of Assist’s peer support program is to help lawyers and students alleviate stress, regain health, and/or achieve recovery in part by talking with another lawyer who is willing to listen and discuss. Assist is concerned about the well-being of both Peer Support volunteers and participants. We instruct volunteers to keep their role clear with the participants. The volunteers and the participants have the right to say “no” to requests that make them feel uncomfortable.
- Peer support volunteers and participants recognize that mutual trust is critical to a beneficial relationship and work jointly to foster that trust.
All of Assist’s Peer Support programs, both formal and informal, adhere to the Ethics of Peer Support by Ross McLeod, Law Society Practice Advisor 2018: