Child Protection for Educators and Principals: A Moral and Legal Obligation

  • India BryceEmail author


Child abuse and neglect has reached ‘epidemic’ proportions globally. Whilst it is difficult to ascertain the exact incidence of child maltreatment, overwhelming evidence indicates the magnitude of the problem is significant (Mathews B, Bromfield L. Australian laws and policies on child neglect. In Dubowitz H (ed) World perspectives on child abuse. ISPCAN, Aurora, 2012, pp 61–66). In recent years there has been an influx of media attention, government inquiries into departmental responses to child abuse and neglect and a host of research identifying the prevalence of abuse and neglect in our society. Schools are arguably on the front line, holding a front row seat to the detection and reporting of child maltreatment. As our society becomes more complex, and the responsibilities of educators more diverse and welfare oriented, the legal terrain for educators and educational leaders becomes more ambiguous. This chapter aims to provide education professionals with an overview of the legal issues commonly encountered in the professional context, the nature of mandatory reporting obligations and the often conflicting moral and ethical considerations. The chapter will explore the attitudes and deterrents to educators fulfilling these obligations and role of preservice education in adequately preparing professionals for the complexities of their role on the front line of child protection.


Mandatory reporting Child protection Legal 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist EducationUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia

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