Barriers to reporting child abuse or neglect (CA/N) most often cited by respondents in a Kentucky study (2006) were an uncertainty that reporting would help the child, fear that reporting will make it worse for the child, a loss of relationship with the family, inconsistent response (by the system) to previous reports, unfamiliarity with social workers, and risk of medical malpractice.1
The barriers to reporting CA/N articulated by sources are a fear of attorneys/court/malpractice/family retribution, a lack of confidence in the system response, and the time it takes to fill out a report when they have back-to-back medical appointments.
In a Canadian study, Ward, Bennett, Plint, King, Jabbour, and Gaboury (2004) found through a survey of child protection program directors, pediatric program directors, and pediatric residents that only 20% of the 15 programs nationwide had mandatory clinical rotations in CA/N, 60% offered clinical electives, and 47% did not offer any specific clinical experience in CA/N.3
Residents and program directors in rating training in CA/N most often rated it as “somewhat adequate, needs improvement.” A large percentage (92%) of residents felt that they needed further training in CA/N, graduating residents also mirrored this need (82%).
1 Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Community Based Services, and Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky. (2007). Child abuse recognition education: Surveys of physicians and DCBS staff.
3 Ward, M.G.K., Bennett, S., Plint, A.C., King, W.J., Jabbour, M., & Garoury, I. (2004). Child protection: a neglected area of pediatric residency training. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28, 10, 1113-1122.