Prevention in Schools: Examining School Personnel’s Attitudes and Knowledge of Mandated Reporting
This study examined the factors that may affect school personnel’s implementation of mandated reporter procedures after student disclosure of child sexual abuse (CSA), with a focus on how school personnel think, reason, and act after a student discloses suspected CSA. Children spend most of their time in school, therefore, school personnel have significant roles in protecting children by being mandated reporters of child abuse. This study used a quantitative research design to examine school personnel’s attitudes and knowledge regarding mandated reporting child sexual abuse after student disclosure. The study used a cross-sectional survey methodology that included a single survey instrument. A cross-sectional study was chosen because participants were selected based on the inclusion criteria of this study. One hundred school personnel who are currently employed by educational institutions serving students between kindergarten and 12th grade participated in this study by completing an online survey pertaining to this topic. Results indicate that teachers with training had more confidence recognizing indicators of abuse, were more knowledgeable about their reporting responsibilities, and were better prepared to follow reporting procedures. The majority of respondents also reported that their institutions had a child abuse reporting policy of which they were aware. This would suggest that educational institutions with a formal policy may impact school personnel's decision to report child sexual abuse, ensuring that they report child sexual abuse. Findings also suggest that school personnel's attitudes toward their commitment to the reporting role are closely aligned with mandated reporter standards and expectations.