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Teachers Role in Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

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Teachers Role in Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

The maltreatment and neglect of children and youth has increasingly come to be perceived as a social blight. As with most social problems, child abuse influences our school systems. Children that are being emotionally, physically and sexually abused often use school as a cop out. These children spend around thirty hours a week in a safe, enjoyable and carefree environment, however within these thirty hours teachers must be taking the time to make observations. Teachers have the ability to compare current behaviors with peers, norms and past behaviors of their students. Therefore, teachers are an important role in reporting cases of child abuse or maltreatment. If a teacher fails to report suspected signs of abuse, they can be eligible to a fine up to one thousand dollars (Children's Aid Society, 2001). More programs, in-services and support need to be given to these teachers in order for them to feel comfortable reporting suspected child abuse and for them to know the proper way to report their suspicions.

Physical abuse is a non-accidental injury inflicted on a child from a caregiver. If a child is being physically abuse, he or she may experience severe beatings, burns,

Strangulation, or human bites (Cates & Markell, 1995). If a child has been severely beaten, the perpetrator will try to cover up the bruises, scares or welts. This means that a child may be sent to school on a hot summer day in a long sleeved t-shit. The signs of physical abuse are obvious compared to the other type of abuse. In a study conducted by McIntyre (1990), twenty-one percent of the teachers that participated in the study reported that they would not be able to see signs of physical abuse. The majority of participant stated they would be able to notice the signs of abuse if these signs were made obvious. Physical signs of physical abused are not always noticeable; the perpetrator will often cover up any physical sign. This means that teachers have to pay more attention to the psychological signs of physical abuse. Psychological signs may include extreme wariness of parents or adults, watchfulness, apprehensiveness when others cry or complete wariness of physical contact. If the perpetrator covers the physical factors, teachers need to become more aware of the psychological signs of physical abuse.

The willful infliction of mental suffereing,

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