Confidentiality and the Reporting of Child Abuse

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Confidentiality and the Reporting of Child Abuse Confidentiality and the Reporting of Child Abuse In this paper the ethical dilemma in professional psychology I select is confidentiality and the reporting of child abuse. I will describe my selected ethical dilemma. I will apply each one of the first fourteen steps in the ethical decision-making process to my selected scenario. The purpose of applying these fourteen steps is to use them systematically to arrive at the “best” ethical decision for “solving” my ethical dilemma. I will explain the importance of ethical decision-making in the field of professional psychology. The reporting of child abuse is mandatory in all fifty states, yet, each state’s application of mandatory reporting laws may differ. Reporting refers to a legal obligation to report suspected or known child maltreatment. Mandatory reporting legislation overrides any professional code of conduct or ethical guidelines. For example, although psychologists or any professional must maintain client confidentiality, they may break this confidentiality if a client reports that a child is being abused. Medical practitioners, psychologists, police officers, social workers, welfare workers, teachers, and principals are all mandatory reporters. Several states have broadened the list of mandatory reporters to any person suspecting abuse (, 2000). When a report of abuse is disclosed to a person there is a legal responsibility to report the abuse to proper authorities such as the police or Child Protective Services. Scenario: Jane Doe is a wife and mother of three children. She brings her three children to the pediatrician office at least twice a week. At first it was sick visits then the doctor started to realize that the children had bruises on them. The doctor did not say anything at first about it because she was not 100% sure that

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