Nurses' Perspectives on Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse in Taiwan

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Ying-Huaw Tseng, MSN, RN
College of Nursing, Fooying University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Jui-Ying Feng, DNS, PNP
Department of Nursing, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: understand nurses’ roles in mandatory reporting of child abuse in Taiwan.

Learning Objective 2: understand barriers and difficulties nurses encountered in the process of child protection in Taiwan.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore nurses’ perception on child abuse reporting and child protection in Taiwan.

Methods: A purposive sampling was used to recruit nurses who had experiences on caring or reporting suspected cases of child abuse. Semi-structured interviews lasting 60-90 minutes with seven nurses from pediatric units or emergency rooms were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Grounded theory method was used to analyze data and to develop categorical themes that reflected nurses’ experiences and perspectives related to child abuse.

Results: Three themes emerged reflecting nurses’ perception on the process of reporting suspected cases of child abuse: the best interest of the child, role expectation, and conflict. Nurses generally agreed that the best interest of the child is the key to report child abuse cases. Reporting is designed to protect the child from further danger and to provide a better and safer environment. Nurses’ role in child abuse is multifaceted: the front-line caregivers, information collectors, and team connectors. Conflict arises because of no consensus across many aspects. Some nurses emphasized the need to prioritize the best interest of the family. Contracting to their assertion on primary care of the child, nurses viewed themselves as the second line person in terms of child abuse reporting. A hospital is like a cage, a confined but safe barricade that limits the scope of helping abused children but offers a protection to outside dangers for nurses. Nurses highly expected social workers to succeed on child protection after the report, but were dissatisfied with social workers’ accomplishment partly due to some children being sent back to their original family.

Conclusion:This study demonstrates child protection is a dynamic process requiring more interactive collaboration between disciplines.