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School personnel and child abuse and neglect reporting behavior: An integrative review

Purpose: Although school personnel are in a good position to identify cases of abuse and neglect, they may fail to report these cases. This failure may leave victims to suffer the negative effects of abuse and neglect and deprives them of possible help. Because the evidence for factors associated with this behavior is insufficient, an integrative review was conducted to synthesize the literature related to factors associated with the reporting by school personnel of child abuse (schoolteachers, principals, counselors, early educators, kindergarten teachers, and daycare teachers). Design and methods: A systematic search was conducted using the PsychINFO, Embase, ERIC, and PubMed electronic databases that was limited to the past ten years and journal articles in the English language. The search terms were "school personnel," "child abuse," "neglect," and "reporting." Studies were included if their focus was on factors associated with child abuse and neglect reporting by school personnel in private schools, public schools, or daycares. Studies were excluded if their focus was not on child abuse and neglect reporting; if they were non-research articles, theses/dissertations, or interventional studies; or if the focus was on special education. Results: Sixteen articles based on 14 studies were reviewed: nine quantitative studies, three qualitative studies, and two mixed methods. All the studies had used different instruments, and only three had a theoretical framework that was different from each other. Three categories of factors associated with the reporting behavior were identified as system, victim, and reporter characteristics. These studies provide a description of these factors; however, the evidence of the degree of association between these factors and the reporting behavior was still at the beginning stage. No common theories or instruments guide the science of child abuse and neglect reporting behavior. Practice implications: Further research should investigate the association between school personnel's reporting behavior and influential factors to facilitate effective interventions. Once evidence exists, school nurses, for example, in collaboration with other professionals, can target school personnel with interventions to increase reporting behavior. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Literature Review

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