Case, teacher and school characteristics influencing teachers' detection and reporting of child physical abuse and neglect: Results from an Australian survey

Walsh, Kerryann M., Bridgstock, Ruth S., Farrell, Ann M., Rassafiani, Mehdi, & Schweitzer, Robert (2008) Case, teacher and school characteristics influencing teachers' detection and reporting of child physical abuse and neglect: Results from an Australian survey. Child Abuse and Neglect, 32(10), pp. 983-993.

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Objective: To identify the influence of multiple case, teacher and school characteristics on Australian primary school teachers' propensity to detect and report child physical abuse and neglect using vignettes as short hypothetical cases. Methods: A sample of 254 teachers completed a self-report questionnaire. They responded to a series of 32 hypothetical physical abuse and neglect scenarios by rating each of the vignettes on a 5-point scale for likelihood of abuse/neglect (detection) and likelihood to report (reporting). Teacher and school characteristics were also captured. Results: Multivariable multilevel analysis was used because of the hierarchical structure of the data with teachers nested within schools. A modest proportion of the variance in teachers' detecting and reporting scores was attributable to school membership. In the full model, case characteristics were found to exert the strongest influence on detecting and reporting tendency, in particular the type, frequency and severity of child physical abuse or neglect were the most important predictors of detection and reporting. At the teacher level, attention to legal reporting obligations was found to be the strongest and most significant predictor of reporting. The effect of teachers' training on both detecting and reporting emerged as a counter-intuitive finding. At the school level, characteristic effects were not as strong. Conclusions: Teachers detecting and reporting CAN is a complex decision-making process. The most important determinants of teacher decision making are case characteristics. These characteristics impact upon both detection and reporting. Future research should be directed towards identifying and testing the influence of other teacher and, to a lesser extent, school characteristics that were not included in the current study. Further research is also required to identify the components, nature and duration of appropriate training for teachers and the links between these features and reporting outcomes.

Impact and interest:

21 citations in Scopus
16 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 14701
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Child abuse, teachers, detection, reporting, mandatory reporting
DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.03.002
ISSN: 0145-2134
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900) > Education not elsewhere classified (139999)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 02 Sep 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 14:39

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