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Teacher's Role in Cases of Suspected Child Abuse

NCJ Number
Education and Urban Society Volume: 22 Issue: 3 Dated: special issue (May 1990) Pages: 300-306
T McIntyre
Date Published
7 pages
Despite mandatory child abuse reporting statutes in all 50 States and school attendance by more than half of abused and neglected children in the US, only 10 percent of abuse and neglect reports are filed by teachers.
There are two major reasons for this phenomenon: teachers are often unaware of the signs and symptoms of child abuse, child neglect, and child sexual abuse, and they are often unknowledgeable about State legal mandates. Gray areas in legislation may also create confusion or situations in which teachers are afraid to report suspected child abuse. However, teachers are empathetic to the needs of abused and neglected children and do wish to help. Therefore, inservice-training professionals should coordinate program activities on various aspects of child abuse and teachers and their unions should lobby policymakers for well-organized and delineated referral processes. A multidisciplinary child protection team should undertake the task of identifying, assisting, and monitoring abused students. Because teachers are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse, it is suggested they obtain other witnesses, keep a personal record, report all incidents, and follow up through written reports to the child protective services or discussions with the student and/or parents. 23 references