Teachers' reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect: behaviour and determinants Academic Article uri icon


  • By reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, teachers can make an important contribution to the early detection and prevention of abuse. However, teachers are sometimes reluctant to report their suspicions. This study investigated the determinants of teachers' reporting behaviour using concepts from the Integrated Change Model. Self-report data were collected from 296 teachers employed in 15 Australian schools. Compared to their colleagues, teachers who had never suspected child abuse or neglect (non-detectors, N=57, 19%) were more likely to have a lower confidence in their skills for recognising the signs of abuse, a higher degree of perceived social support regarding reporting, less years teaching experience and lower academic qualifications. Among those who had suspected cases of child abuse or neglect (N=239, 81%), teachers who always reported their suspicions (consistent reporters, 82%) were more likely to have firm action plans about reporting and detecting signs of CAN than teachers who did not always report their suspicions (inconsistent reporters, 18%). While only a small proportion of the variance in detection and reporting status was explained, the results illustrate the utility of health promotion theory and methods for improving our understanding of these behaviours.

publication date

  • December 1, 2008