Mandated Reporting Essay

730 Words 3 Pages
Many professionals, especially those in the mental health field, are required by law to report any suspected child or elder abuse. Mandated reporting is a law and anyone in the position of mandated reporting must abide by this law. However, for many, reporting does not always come easy. Flaherty (2006) states that the terms used to promote mandated reporting of child abuse in state laws vary by state but initially mean “reasonable suspicion” and, although an ambiguous term, it is purposely kept this way to promote reporting. The ambiguity of mandated reporting terms seem to be the cause of underreporting of child abuse because physicians are not able to accurately interpret the meaning of terms such as “reasonable suspicion” (Flaherty, 2006). …show more content…
Flaherty (2006) also mentions that the reporting of child abuse is challenging to those physicians who do not have the adequate training to determine what may appear to be signs of child abuse. Reporting is not just a job for the mandated professionals: anyone in a position having suspected abuse is encouraged to report abuse. Pollack (2007) mentions that arguments favoring mandated reporting state that children cannot make decisions about their own well being and cannot remove themselves from a harmful situation and therefore need a professional to intervene by reporting. He also states that there are arguments against mandated reporting which state that obligating certain professionals to be mandated reporters can perhaps free society from its responsibility to report abuse. By law, mandated reporters are obligated to report any suspected child and elder abuse or neglect. Professionals need to be able to identify abuse and take the correct steps to ensure the safety of a child or …show more content…
The law protects mandated reporters against a report that may be a false alarm if the report was done with the intention to protect a child. Many individuals are afraid that they may be wrong and would not want to falsely report an incident if signs or symptoms were misinterpreted (Vanbergeijk, 2007). Uncertainty about an incident is not the only thing that can prevent an individual from making a report; sometimes reporting may be a difficult decision for some especially if they have a relationship with the abuser. For example, in a study by Tiersland et al. (2006) they found that mothers were also burdened with the thought of the consequences faced by their child perpetrators if the perpetrator was a son or a husband. Many times it is not the lack of knowledge that abuse may be occurring but the fact that the perpetrator may be someone close therefore making reporting an even more difficult task. Another concern with child abuse being reported is educating those who are expected to make the report. Lusk, Zibulsky, and Viezel (2014) believe that it is very important that school personnel be educated in mandated reporting because almost half of the children that encounter abuse are between 3 and 11 years old. They also go on to say that if a mandated reporter has

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