Cross-cultural perspectives on educators' reporting practices of maltreatment: an Australian study
McCallum, F 2000, 'Cross-cultural perspectives on educators' reporting practices of maltreatment: an Australian study', paper presented to 81st Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, 24-28 April.
Despite legal mandates that educators report their suspicions concerning abuse and neglect of their students, professionals fail to report their suspicions. In the present research, all schools in South Australia were surveyed to explore educators' experiences with mandatory notification training and school reporting practices. The purpose was to ascertain what led educators to report or not to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. The sample (n=328) was made up of classroom teachers and educators in leadership positions. Findings are reported in three parts: the current mandatory notification situation for educators; the difficulties affecting educators' reporting practices; and strategies for improved reporting practices. It is time to review child protection practices in the light of a continued increase in child abuse and neglect statistics. This paper posits the view that improved professional development and positive and collaborative work with supportive leaders can assist the reporting practices of educators by confronting the personal and professional dilemmas associated with under-reporting.