Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Discussion of Physical Abuse Scenario 1

The correct answer for Scenario 1 is Yes.

The situation referenced in Scenario 1 should be reported to DFCS as neglect.

The situation referenced in Scenario 1 should be reported to DFCS. While corporal punishment is legal in Georgia, leaving a bruise as a result of such punishment is illegal. Georgia law specifically provides that “physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is no physical injury to the child.” (O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5 (2012)) For a mandated reporter, it does not matter if the injury seems to have been accidental. It must be reported because corporal punishment resulted in an injury and that is illegal in Georgia.

Key Concept in Scenario 1:

  • When corporal punishment by a parent or caregiver results in injury to a child, mandated reporters must report.

Features of Scenario 1:

The student is not behaving like he normally does either in the hallway or when stopped by the person on hall duty. Victims of physical abuse may have emotional reactions from increased hostility to depression (among other things).

There was a physical sign reflecting a recognizable shape (a hand in this case). Frequently physical abuse happens in the context of corporal punishment. Legal corporal punishment turned into abuse in Scenario 1 because it resulted in an injury to the child.

Students will sometimes be coached by a parent on what to say about a visible injury if asked by someone at school. Children also typically do not want their parent to get in trouble or to get in more trouble themselves with the parent by telling anyone what happened. Sympathy for the student’s statements that this type of thing never happened before and that the father was sorry do not take away a mandated reporters responsibility to notify DFCS.

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