In many parts of the world, mandated reporters are people who have regular contact with vulnerable people and are therefore legally required to ensure a report is made when abuse is observed or suspected. Specific details vary across jurisdictions—the abuse that must be reported may include neglect, or financial, physical, sexual, or other types of abuse. Mandated reporters may include paid or unpaid people who have assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care of a child, dependent adult, or elder. Following are links for more information:
- Disability Abuse (reporting issues discussed)
- Elder Abuse (reporting issues discussed)
Law and policy (over the past several decades) concerning the detection and reporting of, and the responses to, abuse and neglect is theoretically and practically complex, and exists alongside political, economic, social and cultural forces in each society. Mandatory child abuse reporting laws differ in significant ways, both within and between nations, with the differences tending to broaden or narrow the scope of cases required to be reported, and by whom. Laws, media, lobbying and research have brought about a gradual change in societal expectations on reporting in the United States and, at different rates, in other western nations. Originally created to respond to physical abuse, reporting systems in various countries began to expand to address sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic abuse. This expansion was accompanied by broader requirements for reporting abuse: previously reports were only submitted when an incident caused serious physical injury, but as the definitions changed, more minor physical injuries and developmental and psychological trauma began to be included as well.
There has been a huge increase of reporting over the decades with enormous numbers of unsubstantiated cases. Referrals increase each year, but the actual substantiated cases remain low and are approximately the same or decline each year.
Media and commentators often take the number of referrals to be synonymous with the number of cases of actual child maltreatment, which makes the problem appear larger than it actually is.
- Mathews, Ben (2008). "Mandatory reporting legislation in the United States, Canada and Australia: A cross-jurisdictional review of key features, difference and issues" (PDF). Sage Publications. pp. 2,4.
- Krason, Stephen M. (2007). "The Critics Of Current Child Abuse Laws And The Child Protective System: A Survey Of The Leading Literature". The Catholic Social Science Review. p. 307,308,307–350.
- Douglas J. Besharov (1985). ""Doing Something" About Child Abuse: The Need to Narrow the Grounds For State Intervention". Harvard J.L. & Pub. Pol’y. pp. 539–590.
- Bromfield, Leah; Holzer, Prue. "Australian Institute of Family Studies Submission to the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW" (PDF). National Child Protection Clearinghouse.
- Krason, Stephen M. (2013). "The Mondale Act and Its Aftermath: An Overview of Forty Years of American Law, Public Policy, and Governmental Response to Child Abuse and Neglect" (PDF). Scarecrow Press. pp. 1–58.
- "Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2013)".
- Joan E. Durrant, Ph.D. (2012). "Child Abuse in Sweden". The Natural Child Project.