Duty to Report Child Abuse

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Who is mandated to report child abuse: Is it an ethical dilemma or a duty? Rachel Christian Argosy University Who is mandated to report child abuse: Is it an ethical dilemma or a duty? First a definition of child abuse is necessary, so that there is a clear understanding. Child abuse is physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child. Child abuse is a problem that occurs in every community and at all levels of society. The following definitions are according to the State of Tennessee’s Child Safety web site: * Physical abuse is non-accidental physical trauma or injury inflicted by a parent or caretaker on a child. * Sexual abuse includes penetration or external touching of a child's intimate parts, oral sex with a child, indecent exposure or any other sexual act performed in a child's presence for sexual gratification, sexual use of a child for prostitution, and the manufacturing of child pornography. * Emotional Abuse includes verbal assaults, ignoring and indifference or constant family conflict. * Physical neglect is the failure to provide for a child's physical survival needs to the extent that there is harm or risk of harm to the child's health or safety. Tennessee Department of Children’s Services receives over 37,000 reports of child abuse or neglect each year. More than 100 children are reported abused or neglected every day. (Department of Children's Services, 2012) Making the decision to report suspected child abuse may be difficult, however it is of great importance. “In most jurisdictions, child protective service (CPS) agencies rely on such reports to open investigations concerning possible child abuse and to begin interventions aimed at protecting the involved child or children, while possibly bringing the perpetrator into the criminal justice system.” (Carleton, 2006) For psychologists

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