Predictors of failure by medical practitioners to report suspected child abuse in Queensland, Australia

Schweitzer, Robert D., Buckley, Lisa, Harnett, Paul, & Loxton, Natalie (2006) Predictors of failure by medical practitioners to report suspected child abuse in Queensland, Australia. Australian Health Review, 30(3), pp. 298-304.

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Objective: The goal of this investigation was to examine the level of notification and the perceived deterrents to medical practitioners, who are mandated to report their suspicions but might choose not to do so, reporting child abuse and neglect. Design: A survey design with a random sample of medical practitioners was used. About three hundred medical practitioners were approached through the local Division of General Practitioners. 91 registered medical practitioners in Queensland, Australia, took part in the study. Results: A quarter of medical practitioners admitted failing to report suspicions, though they were mostly cognisant of their responsibility to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect. Only the belief that the suspected abuse was a single incident and unlikely to happen again predicted non-reporting ( ̄2 [1, N = 89] = 7.60, p < 0.01). [Author, the file I received seemed to have something wrong here. I’ve copied stats from the Results section – please check they’re correct figures/symbols gender, age or parent status differences were found between reporters and non-reporters. Conclusions: Although the rate of non-reporting shows improvement from previous research, it is still at an unacceptable level. The failure to report appears to result not from judgement about the presence or absence of indicators of child abuse and neglect but a threshold that moves individuals to act on their suspicions. Professional development should focus on some of the fallacies which often influence medical practitioners’ decisions.

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ID Code: 6908
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: neglect, child abuse, failure to report, suspicious, gp, general practitioner, doctor
ISSN: 0156-5788
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Australian Healthcare Association
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 10 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2013 23:33

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