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Keywords:

  • mandatory reporting;
  • child abuse and neglect;
  • teachers;
  • Malaysia

Mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting laws apply to teachers in many countries of the world. However, such laws have not yet been introduced for teachers in Malaysia, and there is debate about whether the laws should be extended to teachers at all. This paper aimed to investigate the level of support among teachers to assume mandatory reporting duties and to identify factors determining this support in Malaysia. A total of 668 teachers from 14 randomly selected public primary schools completed an anonymous self-administered questionnaire. Results showed that 44.4 per cent of the respondents supported legislation requiring teachers to report child abuse. Teachers of Indian ethnicity, those with a shorter duration of service in teaching (< 5 years), the availability of knowledgeable and supportive school staff and a higher level of commitment to reporting were significant factors affecting teachers' support for mandatory reporting. This study provides important insights into factors influencing teachers' support for the introduction of mandatory reporting legislation for teachers in Malaysia. Teachers do not unanimously support these laws and there is a lack of clarity about what such laws will mean for teachers. The data highlight the need for specific training programmes to raise teachers' awareness, build their confidence and enhance their willingness to report child abuse. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioner Messages

  • Malaysia does not currently have mandatory child maltreatment reporting requirements for teachers.
  • Factors influencing teachers' support for the introduction of mandatory reporting include an attitude of commitment to the duty and the availability of other knowledgeable and supportive school staff.
  • There is a need for specific training programmes to raise teachers' awareness, build their confidence, and enhance their willingness to engage with issues relating to child maltreatment.

‘44.4 per cent of the respondents supported legislation requiring teachers to report child abuse’

‘The criminal justice system are not being provided with the appropriate data to measure throughput through the system’