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Mandated reporter training is commonly given to those in the community who come into contact with children and the elderly on a frequent basis. Social workers, medical officials and teachers make up the bulk of those requiring training. The most common type of training involves a 13-question pre-assessment examination followed by a 60- to 120-minute, self-paced interactive training. The last step in many mandated reporter training sessions is the completion of a 13-question post-training examination. Upon the completion of this training, a certificate is issued to the trainee.
Many members of a community are required to undergo mandated reporter training to recognize and properly report suspected child abuse, elderly abuse and human trafficking victims. The identification of clues that might lead to the recognition of abuse are covered in the mandated reporter training. Spotting bruises, unexplained injuries as well as frequent and reoccurring injuries are all common identifiers of abuse. Some of the training involves learning to properly question the suspected victim about the injuries. The proper person or organization to which to report abuse is also included in the training. Often, people have reported informing the wrong person of suspected abuse, which resulted in continued violence until the proper authority was eventually notified of the situation.
The requirements for reporting suspected abuse are covered in mandated reporter education. The requirement of the reporting need not be positive; the suspected abuse need only be probable or likely. The recognition of bruising and other injuries are investigated in the training, as well as the typical excuses given for the injuries. In learning the typical responses and explanations used to describe the manner in which the injuries were sustained, the reporter can better judge the probability of an actual case of abuse as compared with a normal, accidental injury.
As important as methods of ways to react to a suspected abuse situation are, just as important are the manners in which not to react to suspected reports of abuse. A great deal of mandated reporter training includes ways to respond and not respond to reports of abuse. It is imperative that a reporter remain calm and steady when hearing of reported abuse. Responding with horror or disbelief can often cause a reporter to close down and even claim to be only making the story up. It is imperative that the person hearing the report from the suspected victim remain calm and collected as though he or she is hearing something that is a very common occurrence in the community. The main point of mandated reporter training is to make the victim feel safe, supported and not at fault.
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