Westrek Affair Case Study

Assignment brief:

Suggested length (40-50 words).


Use the heading ‘Background’ After you have read the case study several times, use the accounts to reconstruct what occurred.  In your preliminary notes, you may want to use dot points.

Ethical and non-ethical issues identified:

Utilitarian perspective:

Application of utilitarian perspective:

Kantian perspective:

Application of the Kantian perspective:




Case-Based Assignment


The case is concerned with the Westrek affair, which occurred when Maggie Dawkins was the group leader for the Westrek project at Katanning. The reports made by Mrs Dawkins were associated with the fact that students belonging to the St Andrews hostel were sexually abused by McKenna, who was the supervisor of Mrs Dawkins. The police were involved by the former students because they feared the impact it would have on the supervisor and also risked their life conditions. The Katanning police were later involved, and as they began the investigation, they found clear evidence from Mrs Dawkins regarding McKenna (Parliament, 2022; pp. 137-171). The female police officer to whom Dawkins contacted therefore suggested moving to the Westrek Community Liaison Officer, who would be effectively liable for answering any query or any other situational factors for overview (Parliament, 2022; pp. 137-171). From the case, it has been depicted that the situational factors under liaison have been depicted so that they are effectively used for the conditional outcomes, and hereby, the plaintiff, Dawkins, has derived the cases under which the defined standards under which defined conditional factors are outlined.

In this condition, when approached by Ms Evans, the liaison officer, she did not rebuff Dawkins but berated her for raising such questions about her supervisor, McKenna. Further, when Dawkins approached Mr McKenna, he further threatened to remove Dawkins, and he did so by transferring to a smaller area under the watch of the Westrek project manager. The condition under this severely impacted the morale of the Dawkins under which the violations were placed under cover. This also led to the complaint against McKenna for repeatedly being involved in the abusive situation, thus leading towards the implications under place for the defined conditioning (Parliament, 2022; pp. 137-171). The abrasive situations, as backgrounded here, are associated with the continuous malignment of the condition for the plaintiff, Mrs Dawkins. The last option for Mrs Dawkins was to go to Mr Sherlock, but as he was previously informed by others like McKenna, and so, Mr Sherlock did not resolve the issues in moral or ethical terms. The overall case study also not only considers the ethical dilemma related to the issue concerning sexual abuse, but also, the differences in the morality in perspectives of gender differences, and how males and females have different views on morality.

Ethical and non-ethical issues  

Difference between legal issues, moral issues and ethical issues

Legal issues are those actions that violate any legal rules, regulations, or laws of the state. The creation of legal issues might make an individual get arrested or go to prison. On the other hand, moral issues are mainly personal and individual repercussions about what is right and what is wrong. On the contrary, ethical issues are mainly universal, and it depends on what is right and wrong in social circumstances.

One example of a moral or legal issue that does not raise an ethical issueOne of the legal issues that do not raise ethical concerns is associated with killing someone in self-defence, which is a criminal, and attacking the other. In this regard, killing someone is a legal issue, and it would be taken to court to understand what is right and wrong. How

ever, it does not raise ethical concerns because, universally, every individual would have acted in the same way under such circumstances.

Five different ethical issues that the case study raises

The five different ethical issues that the case study raises are as follows:-

  1. Utilitarianism  During the addressing of moral issues, most individuals are concerned about the consequences of an individual’s actions (Hinman, 2012, pp: 11). The factor of a furious phone call from McKenna demanding the removal of Mrs Dawkins is not in accordance with the principle that supports well for all. Even if the complaint was falsely made, one must not demand the removal of a candidate.
  2. Pluralism – There is no single moral standard for everyone, and cultural differences, as well as individual differences, set different moral standards for every individual (Hinman, 2012, pp: 11). There was a huge cover-up about the abuse that is related to the incident, and therefore, it raised the issue that social justice was not provided to other individuals. Most of the people who were in the authorities had covered up the incident instead of escalating them.
  3. Virtue Ethics – Instead of concentrating on the factors, it is also found that most of the ethical theories concentrate on the development of virtues and vices instead of the development of character (Hinman, 2012, pp: 12). Other than Maggie Dawkins, no one had any information about the abuse of 11 boys by McKenna. However, compassion was lacking in the entire affair.
  4. Gender and ethics – There are several aspects of gender that help in observing that men and women view morality differently, which often creates a problem in handling an ethical issue (Hinman, 2012, pp: 12). It is seen that as Maggie Dawkins was a woman, she had raised her voice against the issue of sexual abuse by McKenna. However, no men seemed to have raised their voices in the process and tried to cover that incident.
  5. Ethics of justice – According to John Rawls, there is an egalitarian notion of justice, which means that there are important factors that are associated with the understanding of justice (Hinman, 2012, pp: 12). Instead of delivering justice, Supreme Court Justice Peter Blaxell had also stated that he knew how the incident was covered up since the beginning. However, he also did not take any kind of step himself to reduce corruption.


Hinman, L. (2012). Ethics: A pluralistic approach to moral theory (1 ed.). London: Cengage Learning, ISBN: 9780155037076.Parliament. (2022). How the system and society failed our children. pp. 137-171. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/publications/tabledpapers.nsf/displaypaper/3815251ac5df7cf0d11f334148257a7f0014fc95/$file/5251.pdf

Scroll to Top