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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 159824 
Title: Extent of Child Abuse Is Exaggerated (From Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints, P 17-24, 1994, David Bender and Bruno Leone, eds. -- See NCJ-159823)
Author(s): D J Besharov
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Greenhaven Press
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
Sale Source: Greenhaven Press
P.O. Box 9187
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
United States of America
Type: Survey
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The number of child abuse reports has increased significantly in recent years, but many of these reports are inappropriate or unfounded.
Abstract: In response to civil and criminal sanctions, all States require a wide array of professionals, including physicians, nurses, dentists, mental health professionals, social workers, teachers, child care providers, and law enforcement personnel, to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, some professionals make the wrong decision, either in favor of a report when the child is not in danger or against a report when the child needs protection. At the same time many seriously abused children are not reported, child protection agencies are being inundated by unfounded reports. The emotionally charged desire to do something about child abuse, fanned by repeated and often sensational media coverage, has led to an understandable but counterproductive overreaction by professionals and citizens who report suspected child abuse. Particularly controversial issues involve child protection versus child welfare and the family trauma caused by unfounded reports. The flood of unfounded reports is overwhelming the limited resources of child protective agencies. Because they fear missing even one abused child, child care workers perform extensive investigations of vague and apparently unsupported reports. Child protective agencies must be relieved of the heavy burden of unfounded reports if they are to function effectively. 1 table
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse investigations; Child abuse reporting; Child protection services; Child victims; Child welfare; Crimes against children; Juvenile dependency and neglect
Note: Opposing Viewpoints Series
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