Backing for mandatory reporting of suspected abuse

NZ Herald Nov 2, 2010
Medical professionals are supporting a coroner’s suggestion that it be mandatory for them to report suspected child abuse cases to Child, Youth and Family. The coroner conducting the inquest into the deaths of Chris and Cru Kahui yesterday pondered recommending to the Government that health professionals become legally obliged to report any evidence of child abuse. The twins died of head injuries in June 2006. Coroner Garry Evans told the inquest only 1 per cent of child abuse cases were reported by general practitioners. He said doctors, along with nurses and midwives, should be “field workers” for child protection but that health professionals’ obligations to patient privacy often conflicted with reporting abuse. New Zealand Medical Association chairman Peter Foley told National Radio this morning that he supported mandatory reporting of suspected abuse.
..A spokesperson for child welfare advocate group Barnardos said she did not support mandatory reporting of suspected abuse as it could drive the problem underground. Deborah Morris-Travers told National Radio mandatory reporting could result in parents not taking their child to the doctors, meaning evidence of abuse would stay hidden from health professionals.