Teachers and teachers-in-training are mandated reporters; that is, they are legally required to report any suspected child abuse or neglect. Find out what you need to know about your legal responsibilities.

Is this child being abused? Should I file a report? How do I file a report? What is a mandated reporter, and am I one? If you find yourself asking these questions, you’re not alone. These are important questions to ask and even more important questions to answer. This primer will help you understand what your responsibilities are and how to carry them out.

How prevalent is child abuse?

Each state is responsible for developing a registry for convicted offenders and for entering state data into the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). According to the most recent Child Maltreatment report (Administration for Children and Families, 2011), 681,000 children in 51 states were victims of abuse or neglect in 2011.Of this number, 12.5% of children were less than age one, 7.3% were age one, 7.2% were age two, 6.9% were age three, 24% were between the ages of four and seven, 18.7% were between the ages of eight and 11, 17.1% were between the ages of 12 and 15, 6.1% were ages 16 and 17, and 0.4% were between the ages of 18 and 21. Approximately 48.6% of victims were males and 51.1% were females.

Maltreatment occurs across many races, with the majority of victims being white (43.9%), African-American (21.5%), or Hispanic (22.1%). While 81.2% of perpetrators were parents, nonparental figures also have been convicted of abuse or neglect of children, including but not limited to other relatives (4.3%) and partners of a parent (2.7%). Mothers are more frequently identified as perpetrators

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