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Information Sharing and Reporting Systems in the UK and Ireland: Professional Barriers to Reporting Child Maltreatment Concerns

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 19 Issue: 3 Dated: May-June 2010 Pages: 187-202
Lisa Bunting; Anne Lazenbatt; Isla Wallace
Date Published
May 2010
16 pages
This article examines the degree of non-reporting of child abuse concerns across a range of professional disciplines and the factors associated with it in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Across the United Kingdom recent policy developments have focused on improved information sharing and inter-agency cooperation. Professional non-reporting of child maltreatment concerns has been consistently highlighted as a problem in a range of countries and the research literature indicates that this can happen for a variety of reasons. Characteristics such as the type of abuse and the threshold of evidence available are key factors, as are concerns that reporting will damage the professional-client relationship. Professional discipline can also impact on willingness to report, as can personal beliefs about abuse, attitudes towards child protection services and experiences of court processes. Research examining the role of organizational factors in information sharing and reporting emphasizes the importance of training and there are some positive indications that training can increase professional awareness of reporting processes and requirements and help to increase knowledge of child abuse and its symptoms. Nonetheless, this is a complex issue and the need for training to go beyond simple awareness raising is recognized. In order to tackle non-reporting in a meaningful way, childcare professionals need access to on-going multidisciplinary training which is specifically tailored to address the range of different factors which impact on reporting attitudes and behaviors. References (Published Abstract)