Teachers are required to report any cases or suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. There are many fine lines when reporting a case such as this. Teachers question what should be reported and how should it be reported. What is the difference between abuse and neglect? In this article, I hope to clarify some answers for you.
Child abuse causes physical harm to the child. Child abuse can be cruel punishment or unjustified punishment. Abuse also includes any sexual acts against a child.
Neglect is negligence of the responsible person to care for the child. The negligence may be in terms of nutrition, health, clothing, or shelter.
If a teacher suspects or knows of any of the above occurring, she is mandated to report the situation to officials.
If you are uncertain about whether to report or not, consider some of the items listed below.
· Ask help from an experienced staff member. Talk with a school nurse or counselor.
· Compare the child’s situation to the average living conditions in the area.
· Watch the child and look for any signs of abuse or neglect.
· What would be best for the child?
Behavioral Signs of Emotional Abuse
· Child shies from any type of physical contact from an adult
· The child is scared of a parent
· The child hurts himself
· The child appears to be ‘starved’ for attention
· The child is often left at school late or arrives at school very early
Some mandated reporters are not allowed to withhold their name from authorities. Be prepared to give your information as well as the child’s.
In most cases teachers have the right to find out the results of the investigation. If the report is found to be false, mandated reporters are usually protected against any type of lawsuit for false accusation. Persons who report abuse falsely that are not mandated may be subject to a lawsuit.