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Identifying child sexual abuse within school contexts : policy problems and solutions, and a landmark case

Mathews, Benjamin P. (2010) Identifying child sexual abuse within school contexts : policy problems and solutions, and a landmark case. In International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Conference, 26-29 September 2010, Honolulu. (Unpublished)

Abstract

As a strategy to identify child sexual abuse, most Australian States and Territories have enacted legislation requiring teachers to report suspected cases. Some Australian State and non-State educational authorities have also created policy-based obligations to report suspected child sexual abuse. Significantly, these can be wider than non-existent or limited legislative duties, and therefore are a crucial element of the effort to identify sexual abuse. Yet, no research has explored the existence and nature of these policy-based duties. The first purpose of this paper is to report the results of a three-State study into policy-based reporting duties in State and non-State schools in Australia. In an extraordinary coincidence, while conducting the study, a case of failure to comply with reporting policy occurred with tragic consequences. This led to a rare example in Australia (and one of only a few worldwide) of a professional being prosecuted for failure to comply with a legislative duty. It also led to disciplinary proceedings against school staff. The second purpose of this paper is to describe this case and connect it with findings from our policy analysis.

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ID Code: 38010
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: Mandatory reporting laws, Child sexual abuse, Teachers, School-based reporting policies, Breach of reporting duty
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Tort Law (180126)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Law and Justice Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 the author.
Deposited On: 21 Oct 2010 16:43
Last Modified: 12 May 2011 11:54

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