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A Good Call?: Contextual Factors Influencing Mandated Reporting in Domestic Violence Programs

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Domestic violence shelter advocates closely guard the confidentiality of survivors in their shelter programs, yet they are simultaneously mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. The mandate to report child abuse and neglect may include a child’s exposure to domestic violence, which may be disclosed when assessing danger for program entry. The purpose of this study is to understand what decision making factors influence domestic violence shelter advocates’ decision to override survivor’s confidentiality and report child abuse and neglect. A survey of 142 domestic violence shelter advocates found that advocates that holistically consider the impact of reporting are less inclined to report child abuse and neglect. At the same time, advocates who perceive that their agency has a better relationship with child protective services are more inclined to report child abuse and neglect. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to research, policy and practice.

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Correspondence to Melanie L. Carlson.

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Carlson, M.L., Wittrup, E., Moylan, C.A. et al. A Good Call?: Contextual Factors Influencing Mandated Reporting in Domestic Violence Programs. J Fam Viol 35, 269–278 (2020).

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