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Witnessing and Reporting Child Abuse According to the National Childrens Advocacy Center almost three million cases of suspected child abuse and neglect are reported each year That is nearly one child every ten seconds A survey conducted by Childrens Institute International found that about one-fourth of people in the United States has witnessed child abuse Despite that alarming statistic one-third of those people have reported the incident that they witnessed There are several reasons that people put in this type of situation might give for not reporting this terrible crime that they have witnessed Sometimes people are afraid to report abuse or neglect because they do not want to break up a family Sometimes people are afraid to get involved in someone elses problem Witnessing 20 In fact a recent study conducted by Prevent Child Abuse America found that 57 of people did not report because they didnt think it was any of their business Others gave the excuse that they did not know what the right response would be while still others thought that they might be overreacting Witnessing 21 Despite the fact that many people do not report abusive behavior that they have witnessed there are several groups of people that are required by law to report suspected abuse In many states these people are doctors nurses dentists mental health professionals social workers teachers day care workers and law enforcement personnel Petit 35 These people are sometimes known as gatekeepers because they are in frequent contact with children and are often the gatekeepers of child protective services Clark 92 In addition fifteen states required citizens to report suspected abuse as well Clark 189 If any of these people have any reason to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected they are legally obligated to report This required reporting by select professions came about in 1974 when a federal law called the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was enacted This
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