School counsellors' perceptions of mandatory reporter training and mandatory reporting experiences

Authors

  • Jill K. Bryant,

    Corresponding author
    1. Counselling and Human Services and Educational Leadership, Indiana University South Bend, Indiana, USA
    • Assistant Professor Jill K. Bryant, Counselling and Human Services and Educational Leadership, Indiana University South Bend, 1700 Mishawaka Avenue, South Bend, IN 4, USA
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  • Patricia A. Baldwin

    1. Counselling and Human Services and Educational Leadership, Indiana University South Bend, Indiana, USA
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine child abuse reporting by a national sample of school counsellors in the United States. The qualitative results from a large mixed methods study incorporating both quantitative and qualitative strands are presented. Participants were asked to comment on past child abuse training, noting the areas of training they found most beneficial and areas where they desired additional training. Participants were also afforded the opportunity to make any general comments regarding their perceptions of the current mandatory reporting legislation and their experiences of reporting child abuse. Results showed that while many school counsellors felt past training on mandatory reporting legislation and identifying types of abuse was helpful, they identified a need for additional training in identifying emotional and sexual abuse, and supervisory neglect (i.e. lack of supervision by a parent or caretaker producing potential injury or harm to the child). They also desired more training regarding working with children and families affected by child abuse. Four themes emerged from the open question. The first theme illuminated concerns regarding the effectiveness of the mandatory reporting process while the second theme was equally negative, with counsellors sharing many frustrations about their working relationship with child protection services. Additional themes related to their reporting experiences and specific challenges embedded in the school context, such as dealing with parents following a report, difficulty getting adolescent reports investigated and working with school personnel to ensure that reporting responsibilities were understood and followed. Copyright. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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