Lesson 3 - Potentially Harmful Strategies

Threatening/ Bargaining With Client - Threatening to report abuse may give the client the impression that reporting is a punishment and that the decision to report is optional. Bargaining, such as saying, “I won’t report you this time, but if you do it again I’ll have to” sends the message that sometimes it is all right to be abusive, but other times it is not. The client may find the double message confusing, resulting in escalation of his/her behavior or unwillingness to continue in treatment. Threats and bargaining are not options for the reporter. The reporting law states that reports must be made by those engaged in specified professions when the reporter has reasonable suspicion or knowledge of child abuse.

Abandoning The Client - After a report is made, it is important to provide ongoing support to the client throughout the investigation.

Arguing - Clients may cite their own childhood experiences to argue that their behavior is not abusive. An appropriate response may be to have clients describe their experiences and, when applicable, explain that under current reporting laws their parent’s behavior would be reportable as child abuse.

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