Mandatory Reporting

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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An increasingly common issue in today's society is child abuse. A high percentage of child abuse takes place within family, involving physical and/or mental assault. In many cases the victim is pressured into keeping the abusive acts quiet, placing an additional burden on them. Mandatory reporting is one of the only options that is playing an effective role in abuse.

Abuse is defined in the dictionary as ill-treatment, insult, words abusing another person. Compared to the Child and Young Persons Act (1989) definition of child abuse which is delineated under the four categories, Physical, Sexual, Emotional abuse and Neglect, a strong similarity is present. Children who are victims of these four categories of assault have available options to protect themselves, if they are confident to speak out. There are many who can help. If the child is not confident in talking to a member of the family or a friend, different options are accessible.

Services are available including health centres, counselling support centres, phone help lines. Professions including teachers, police officers, medical practitioners and psychologists are obliged to notify the Secretary of the Department of Human Services of any suspected physical or sexual child abuse.

The Government did not bring mandatory reporting into Victoria until 1993, much later than many other states in Australia. Due to statistics of child abuse reporting in other states the government took in to consideration the benefits of compulsory reporting. There were many individuals and groups who realised the necessity of this form of reporting for child abuse in Victoria. The Law Reform Commission of Victoria were the main organisation involved in implementing mandatory reporting. They argued the benefits including the available protection to prevent further abuse and the increase amount of reported child abuse cases. To determine if mandatory reporting would be beneficially to...

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