‘It’s a necessary evil’: Experiences and perceptions of mandatory reporting of child abuse in Victorian general practice Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:General practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses (PNs) are mandated to report child abuse; however, only 2–4% of reports are made by Victorian health professionals. This is concerning, given that the estimated prevalence of physical child abuse alone in Australia is 5–18%. The aim of this study was to explore GPs’ and PNs’ experiences and perceptions of mandatory reporting of child abuse in Victoria. METHODS:Semi-structured interviews with 17 Victorian GPs and PNs were undertaken and thematically analysed. RESULTS:Participants had limited understanding of mandatory reporting in Victoria, struggled with negotiating the risks of reporting child abuse and felt unsupported by their practice and Child Protection Services. DISCUSSION:GPs and PNs must negotiate their legal obligation, with the emotional burden associated with the decision to report. Updated education on reporting processes and more support for GPs and PNs are recommended.

publication date

  • 2018