ERIC Number: ED262307
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug-23
Child Abuse Reporting: Current Reporting Laws and Proposed Reforms.
Smith, Steven R.
Child abuse reporting statutes in all United States jurisdictions impose obligations on psychologists. Requiring psychologists to report known or suspected abuse may interfere with psychotherapy and discourage abusers from seeking therapy. Although the child abuse reporting statutes vary considerably, state statutes share common features. There has been a tendency to provide for reporting to children's protective services agencies rather than law enforcement agencies, to provide for central registries of child abuse within the state, and to broaden the reporting requirements by expanding the definition of abuse and neglect and by increasing the groups of persons required to report. It is now common to require reports from all medical personnel, social service workers, teachers and schools, and law enforcement officers. Many states require anyone suspecting or knowing of child abuse to report it. Although states vary in the definition of abuse, it generally includes physical injury, sexual molestation, emotional injury, or neglect. Failure to report and the large number of unsubstantiated reported cases suggest that there are serious problems with child abuse reporting laws. Reforms are needed which would sharpen and narrow the definition of child abuse; eliminate the reporting requirement when the information is received from an abuser seeking psychotherapy to stop the abuse; and provide a qualified immunity from prosecution for those abusers who voluntarily seek therapy. (NRB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the symposium "Child Abuse Reporting Laws and Psychology" at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).