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The Impact of Mandatory Reporting Legislation on New Zealand Secondary School Students’ Attitudes towards Disclosure of Child Abuse

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Few studies have sought the views of children and young people in relation to child abuse reporting laws and policies, including mandatory reporting of child abuse. This study * sought to determine whether mandatory reporting legislation would have an impact on secondary school students’ attitudes towards: (a) disclosing abuse to a teacher or school counsellor; and (b) attending school, if they had been obviously physically abused. A stratified random sample of 466 secondary school students in two New Zealand provinces answered nine questions in response to an in-class written survey. Results indicated that the introduction of mandatory reporting legislation in New Zealand would deter secondary students from disclosing abuse to teachers and school counsellors. Further, the introduction of mandatory reporting laws might deter students from attending school if they had been obviously physically abused.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; corresponding author, ; 2: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand,


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