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Why is reporting so hard? Barriers to fulfilling the duty to report among community nurses in Israel

Yael Sela Vilensky (Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Social and Community Sciences, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek – Hefer, Israel)
Keren Grinberg (Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Social and Community Sciences, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek – Hefer, Israel)
Yael Yisaschar-Mekuzas (Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Social and Community Sciences, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek – Hefer, Israel)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 29 November 2022

Issue publication date: 1 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to identify the barriers that prevent community nurses in Israel from reporting cases of child maltreatment.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study included interviews of 20 community nurses using questions that focused on the following subjects: knowledge of the law and reporting methods, barriers to reporting and the nurses’ outlook on child abuse.

Findings

Nurses felt they have a lack of the professional knowledge needed to identify suspicious signs. Furthermore, finding indicates that there is a lack of understanding regarding the term “reasonable suspicion” under the law among nurses, and a lack of familiarity with the postreporting procedure. The duty to report is not, by itself, sufficient to increase the rate of reporting. The training in this area is insufficient.

Practical implications

Policymakers must formulate clear rules to identify various forms of harm in children and determine the existence of a “reasonable basis” to believe that a crime has been committed among community nurses in Israel so that they can fulfill their legal and moral duty.

Originality/value

Reporting abuse is a professional duty enshrined in law. The enactment of this law in Israel in 1989 created a new reality, designating a legal and moral obligation, on the part of society in general, as well as professionals, to break the code of silence surrounding child abuse. However, the present findings suggest that the rates of reporting among community nurses remain low. As of yet, no research has been conducted as to why nurses are not reporting suspected cases of abuse in Israel, despite the continued existence of this law.

Keywords

Citation

Sela Vilensky, Y., Grinberg, K. and Yisaschar-Mekuzas, Y. (2022), "Why is reporting so hard? Barriers to fulfilling the duty to report among community nurses in Israel", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 265-280. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-02-2022-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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