Barriers to Mandatory Reporting of Family Violence in the United States: A Systematic Review




Cogdell, Emilie

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The present systematic review aims to understand barriers that mandatory reporters face when they attempt to report suspected family violence (e.g., child abuse, intimate partner violence). Articles were identified from the databases: PsycInfo, Education Resource Information Center, and Family and Society Studies Worldwide via Alkek library's online database collection using a combination of preidentified terms. A total of 237 articles were identified, but after completing an abstract and full-text review, nine studies remained that meet the pre-determined criteria of being (a) published between 2011-2021, (b) having a US sample, (c) relating to family violence, (d) being an empirical article. The results indicated nine barriers that were present, including the need for more education/training, a lack of protocols and communication among agencies, a fear that reporting does more harm than good, not knowing the outcomes of past reported cases, time constraints, wanting to maintain relationships, and past negative experiences with reporting agencies. Needing more education and training was prevalent across all the articles. These results are in line with previous literature that suggests barriers are present for mandatory reporters and, as a result, some cases go unreported, allowing the victim to be further abused. These conclusions show that policy work is needed to ensure that Mandatory Reporting laws adapt to meet the needs of reporters. In addition, further research is needed in other areas such as teen dating violence and other means of abuse such as economic or cultural that are not as easily identifiable.



family violence, mandatory reporters, barriers to reporting, child abuse, domestic violence, health professions, school staff, intimate partner violence, Honors College


Cogdell, E. R. (2022). Barriers to mandatory reporting of family violence in the United States: A systematic review (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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