Professionals' attitudes and accuracy on child abuse reporting decisions in New Zealand

Academic Article


  • Without mandatory child abuse reporting laws in New Zealand, professionals' decisions to contact child protective services must often reflect subjective and situational factors. This study examined abuse reporting decisions of 255 New Zealand health, education, and mental health professionals on 12 abuse scenarios. Certainty ratings on reporting decisions and eight attitudes about reporting were also obtained. Accuracy of professionals' decisions was compared to judgments by child protective services. Mental health professionals were less accurate in reporting decisions than were teachers or doctors. Across occupations, those opposed to mandatory reporting were least accurate but most certain in their reporting decisions. Accuracy was lowest for child neglect and highest for sexual abuse cases. Continued efforts to clarify influences on reporting behavior will enable a review of public policy initiatives and the efficacy of mandatory reporting laws.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rodriguez CM
  • Start Page

  • 320
  • End Page

  • 342
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 3