Mandatory reporting laws: Their origin, nature, and development over time

Mathews, Benjamin P. (2015) Mandatory reporting laws: Their origin, nature, and development over time. In Mathews, Ben & Bross, Donald C. (Eds.) Mandatory Reporting Laws and the Identification of Severe Child Abuse and Neglect. Springer, New York & London, pp. 3-25.

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Dozens of countries have enacted mandatory reporting laws in various forms to respond to child abuse and neglect. Other countries including England are currently considering whether to introduce them, and if so in what form. It is important for policymakers, practitioners and researchers to understand these laws’ background, nature and purpose. This chapter outlines the origins and provenance of the first mandatory reporting laws; discusses their nature; describes major developments over time; and identifies some major effects and their consequences. It is shown that the laws are a heterogeneous, organic, flexible mechanism enabling social intervention where otherwise such intervention is severely compromised or impossible. Their primary function is to comprise but one aspect of a multifaceted child welfare system by identifying cases of serious maltreatment which would not otherwise come to light: sexual abuse and severe physical abuse are paradigm examples. The essential role of these laws is therefore primarily a tertiary aspect of a public health model, rather than a purely preventative strategy. Mandatory reporting laws are made by each specific jurisdiction according to its preferred design and function within its socio-political system. There is a spectrum of different approaches from which a jurisdiction can choose: they can apply to a broad or a narrow range of reporter groups, a broad or a narrow range of types of maltreatment, and a broad or a narrow range of instances where abuse or neglect occurs.

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ID Code: 86520
Item Type: Book Chapter
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9685-9_1
ISBN: 9789401796842
ISSN: 2211-9701
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Deposited On: 12 Aug 2015 23:08
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 09:01

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