Child Abuse Identification & Reporting – 2 CEUs

When a child is labeled “abused” and a parent or caretaker “an abuser” the person doing the labeling sets in motion a process which causes the child and his family to be treated differently than if they were not so labeled. These labeling decisions are ones of judgment, and the process involved in identification and reporting is both subjective and relative. Yet, the consequences of such decisions are not; there are quite specific consequences for the child and his family, and often for the person making the report as well. Therefore, it is important to consider how potential reporters approach the problem of identification and reporting and to understand the different factors which enter into their decision- making processes.
All potential reporters must make a judgment as to the seriousness of the incident which they have observed or which has otherwise been brought to their attention. In making such an assessment, potential reporters evaluate the nature of the incident itself within the context of the particular setting in which it occurred. Legal definitions of abuse as well as culturally determined attitudes and values condition the way in which a potential reporter perceives the situation. Each professional differs as to his or her place in the law enforcement and child protective system.
Professionals must be educated to the need for identification and given the appropriate training and diagnostic tools to allow them to do so. Such training needs to be tailored to the specific professional discipline. Although the law provides one definition of abuse to be applied by all professionals, the situations that each person encounters will be different.