From sexual abuse to physical or emotional abuse as well as maltreatment and neglect, child abuse can have various forms. It occurs when a parent or a caregiver causes injury or death to a child because of his or her action or failing to act.
Very often child abuse is discovered and reported by people surrounding the child. Each State has laws requiring “Mandated Reporters” to report concerns of child abuse. In New York, some professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers, emergency healthcare workers, dentists, medical examiners coroners and other medical professionals are mandated to report any suspicion of child abuse. Therapists and mental health counselors as well as anyone working in the education system as well as police officers and district attorneys and some people working with them such as investigators are mandated to report any suspicion of child abuse.
Sometimes however, mandated reporters hesitate to report suspicion of child abuse. In a recent article, Dr. Michaela A. Medved, MA, TSSLD, CCC-SLP, ClinScD, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Yeshiva University’s Katz School of Science and Health in New York City and Daniel Pollack, MSW, Esq., a professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work in New York City explains why some mandated reporters hesitate in reporting their suspicions. They found in a previous study that reporters are more reluctant to report their concerns when the abuse is mild or less apparent or experienced by children with disabilities.