Understanding teachers' reporting of child sexual abuse: Measurement methods matter

Kerryann Walsh, Ben Mathews, Mehdi Rassafiani, Ann Farrell, Des Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study considered factors influencing teachers' reporting of child sexual abuse (CSA). Conducted in three Australian jurisdictions with different reporting laws and policies, the study focused on teachers' actual past and anticipated future reporting of CSA. A sample of 470 teachers within randomly selected rural and urban schools was surveyed, to identify training and experience; knowledge of reporting legislation and policy; attitudes; and reporting practices. Factors influencing actual past reporting and anticipated future reporting were identified using logistic regression modelling. This is the first study to simultaneously examine the effect of important influences in reporting practice using both retrospective and prospective approaches across jurisdictions with different reporting laws. Teachers who have actually reported CSA in the past are more likely have higher levels of policy knowledge, and hold more positive attitudes towards reporting CSA along three specific dimensions: commitment to the reporting role; confidence in the system's effective response to their reporting; and they are more likely to be able to override their concerns about the consequences of their reporting. Teachers indicating intention to report hypothetical scenarios are more likely to hold reasonable grounds for suspecting CSA, to recognise that significant harm has been caused to the child, to know that their school policy requires a report, and to be able to override their concerns about the consequences of their reporting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1937-1946
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume34
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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