Guidelines and procedures in the reporting of child sexual abuse in the public schools of Ladybrand
Educators, which include teachers and principals, work with children on a daily basis which enables them to detect signs of sexual abuse. According to legislation, educators should act as mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse. Despite legal requirements, the underreporting of child sexual abuse seems to be a worldwide trend. There are a number of factors related to educator’s reluctance to report; one factor being that there are no clear guidelines or procedures in place. The Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS policy) can assist schools to develop school guidelines and procedures that will assist educators in the reporting of child sexual abuse cases. The study may help to create awareness and insight regarding challenges experienced concerning the reporting of child sexual abuse cases in schools and what steps have been followed to develop and implement guidelines in public schools in Ladybrand after receiving SIAS training. The aim of the study is to identify the school guidelines and procedures in the reporting of learner sexual abuse in the public schools of Ladybrand. A quantitative and a descriptive survey design, in the form of a self-designed questionnaire, was followed to collect data. The population for this study includes educators, teachers (N=241) and principals (N=11) of the eleven public schools in Ladybrand district. All these schools completed SIAS training, on what guidelines and procedures schools should follow for the reporting of learner sexual abuse in their schools, as stipulated in the SIAS document as one barrier to learning. The findings suggest that schools that received SIAS training are more likely to have procedures in place, have more confident and knowledgeable educators about the identification of child sexual abuse and are informed about what steps to take.
- Health Sciences