Law, policy, practice: Is it working for teachers in child protection?

Year: 2002

Author: McCallum, Faye

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Australia began to acknowledge the existence of child abuse and neglect during the 1960's which led to legislative reform and Australia signing the 'United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child' in 1981. In South Australia, compulsory reporting of child abuse and neglect was introduced in 1969 by amendments to the Children's Protection Act. Further amendments have been made but the current legislation of the Children's Protection Act, 1993, mandates certain professionals to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect to child protective services. On 25th march, 2002, in South Australia, it was announced that a review into child protection laws was to occur.

Teachers are listed as one of the groups of professionals mandated to report. However, research indicates that law, and the mandatory training that must be undertaken by all teachers, does not necessarily mean that it is effective in dealing with child protection issues in the classroom. This paper will report on the history of child protection law, the development of child protection policy in the education sector, and finally the impact and effects that child protection law and subsequent policy has for teachers involved in child protection prevention.