Teachers' understanding and practice of mandatory reporting of child maltreatment

Falkiner, Meredith, Thompson, Don, and Day, Andrew (2017) Teachers' understanding and practice of mandatory reporting of child maltreatment. Children Australia, 42 (1). pp. 38-48.

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View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cha.2016.53


Across the eight jurisdictions of Australia, mandatory reporting obligations and thresholds for reporting vary. Teachers are one group of the professionals who are mandated to report child maltreatment, yet some teachers are still reluctant to make such a report. This paper examines the barriers that discourage teachers from reporting child maltreatment and also whether teachers consider it necessary to question a child about the maltreatment before they decide if a report should be made. Thirty semi-structured interviews with Victorian primary school teachers were thematically analysed and revealed that inadequate and inconsistent mandatory reporting training, the need for certainty before initiating a report and the ambiguous concept of neglect were barriers to teachers identifying and reporting child maltreatment. Analyses further revealed that teachers gather evidence to confirm or disconfirm their suspicions of maltreatment by questioning the suspected child victim. The consequences of this practice are discussed along with recommendations to help overcome the barriers to making a formal report when child maltreatment is suspected.

Item ID: 48996
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 2049-7776
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 02:09
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services @ 100%
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