18 Apr 2011

Caution urged over mandatory reporting of child abuse

9:07 am on 18 April 2011

An Australian academic says New Zealand should think carefully before introducing mandatory reporting of child abuse.

Associate Professor Dale Bagshaw of the University of South Australia says it has led to social workers there being overloaded, with cases falling through the cracks.

She says mandatory reporting has been in place there for a long time - but believes it is unlikely to have reduced the rate of child abuse.

Dr Bagshaw says limited resources are taken up investigating large numbers of reports, meaning little time is spent on early intervention and prevention.

Mandatory reporting is being canvassed in a Green Paper being developed by the Government.