Factors influencing child abuse and neglect recognition and reporting by nurses : a multivariate analysis

Fraser, Jennifer, Mathews, Ben, Walsh, Kerryann M., Chen, Linping, & Dunne, Michael P. (2010) Factors influencing child abuse and neglect recognition and reporting by nurses : a multivariate analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47(2), pp. 146-153.

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Reporting of known and suspected child abuse and neglect is a fundamental responsibility of health professionals in many countries including Australia. Nurses' duties to report child abuse and neglect are expressed in legislation, or in occupational policy documents. In this paper factors influencing nurses' compliance with mandated reporting are examined.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between nurse characteristics, training, knowledge of legislative reporting duty and attitudinal factors on the reporting by nurses of different types of child abuse and neglect.


Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine relationships between variables.

Design, Setting and Participants

A cross-sectional survey using the Child Abuse and Neglect Nurses' Questionnaire (CANNQ) was conducted. The respondents were 930 Registered Nurses (RNs) currently working across metropolitan, rural and remote locations throughout the state of Queensland, Australia.


Nurses were confident and knowledgeable in their obligation to report physical [CPA] and sexual [CSA] abuse. They were less confident and knowledgeable about emotional abuse [CEA] and neglect [CN]. Recognition of the extent of harm to abused and neglected children was poor.

Positive attitudes to mandatory reporting influenced better recognition of all forms of abuse and neglect and the likelihood of reporting CSA, CEA and CN; parenting experience influenced intention to report child sexual abuse, and CAN training predicted reporting of child neglect.

Conclusions and Practice Implications

Results indicate that with training, nurses are a key choice for mandating child abuse and neglect reporting. Educational preparation and training for nurses should emphasise the serious impact of child abuse and neglect on children and families to improve recognition of the extent of harm and the likelihood of reporting. From a perspective of increasing compliance with the legislative duty, particular attention needs to be paid to recognition and reporting of CEA and CN. Further research is needed to determine whether factors influencing sound reporting can be successfully modified.

Impact and interest:

25 citations in Scopus
23 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 20637
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Child Abuse and Neglect, Mandatory reporting, Professional training, Nurse reporting
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.05.015
ISSN: 0020-7489
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Current > Schools > School of Law
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Elsevier
Deposited On: 28 May 2009 03:15
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2015 08:23

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