Sources of knowledge of departmental policy on child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting identified by primary school student-teachers
The introduction of a Department of Education policy on child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting is significant for school teachers. The mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse by school teachers carries wide-ranging and significant implications for the lives of school-aged children, and for the teachers who must implement the policy's requirements, processes and procedures. There is very little literature on student-teachers' pre-service knowledge about such a mandate. Most student-teachers do not receive compulsory university training in Child Protection and its legal requirements. This study audits an Australian cohort of 56 Bachelor of Education (BEd) primary school student-teachers in their final fourth year, on the sources of the professional knowledge they garnered during those four years concerning the Department of Education's policy on child sexual abuse and its mandatory reporting. The results show that such sources of knowledge that were available to student-teachers during their BEd were incidental, sparse and sporadic. These results are cause for concern; however, they may be used to help educators and curriculum planners design effective, appropriate and compulsory pre-service training for student-teachers.