Australian undergraduate primary school student-teachers’ responses to child sexual abuse and its mandatory reporting
This study aims to understand how primary school teachers, as mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse, are responding to child sexual abuse and its mandatory reporting, even though many teachers do not receive a compulsory course in Child Protection and its legal requirements in their preservice university training. A cohort of 81 Australian final fourth-year Bachelor of Education (Primary) student-teachers was asked about four aspects of it. Qualitative data gathered from these student-teachers' questionnaires provide important insights into their knowledge of child sexual abuse; their knowledge of Department of Education policy on it; their professional competence in mandatory reporting of it; and their recommended educational and professional training in it. The results show that all of these student-teachers feel inadequately prepared to address child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting in schools, being unaware of both knowledge of it and the Department's policy, even though many recognise the gravity of sexual abuse for the child survivor and the need, and seriousness, of child protection. Finally, these student-teachers all want better training about these issues during their four-year degree. In conclusion, these results, and some recommendations, may provide a guide for curriculum planners to design compulsory and appropriate preservice university courses to enhance student-teachers' knowledge, skills and competencies about child sexual abuse and its mandatory reporting.
Pastoral Care in Education
Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified