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Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

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Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

Postby Amasashi » 24 Jun 2012, 11:48

As the title says, should foreign teachers report cases of suspected child abuse?

There's a small child in my class, an 8-year-old boy, who regularly comes to school with bruises and hit marks. Nothing outrageous, but definitely noticeable, as they're not exactly the kind of injuries consistent with being too ambitious on the jungle gym.

It's a public secret as to what's going on. The boy sometimes cries and confides to the Chinese teacher that his father frequently comes home drunk and lashes out at everyone in his bad mood, verbally abusing the mother and physically beating the boy for simple things like not picking up his toys or not having his homework done. His mother, who is the only parent to ever show up at our school, also acknowledges this, but chalks it up to strong-handed discipline.

Now I understand that physically hitting a child as a form of discipline is considered acceptable and quite standard in Taiwan. In fact, most Taiwanese parents will argue that negative reinforcement far outweighs the uselessness of positive reinforcement, and that children (and pets) need to be smacked to make them learn, the validity of which is an argument for another thread.

But when does the smacking around become too much? The kid doesn't have any broken bones or anything, but I can't even remember when he's come to class without a few bruises on his body. And the abuse is not just physical either; the kid is always shy and fidgety, extremely reluctant to speak up in class, and deathly afraid of angering the teachers.

If this were the US, I'd have filed a report immediately. But sadly, it's not, and probably no one will support me on this. While everyone in the school knows what's going on and says how it breaks their hearts, no one's willing to take a stand in fear of losing their jobs for meddling in someone else's personal affairs. And while the mom complains about her husband, she still seems to think it's just a harsh, but acceptable, form of discipline. So no one has my back on either front.

In the end, I'll probably just get heat from both the parents and the school for poking my nose in their business and creating unnecessary drama for everyone. Then I'll probably get fired from the school. But does that mean I should just sit back and pretend nothing is happening? What would you guys do?
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Re: Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

Postby Milkybar_Kid » 25 Jun 2012, 11:53

I would just sit back. I beleive that there is nothing you do in this situation. Sorry
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Re: Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 26 Jun 2012, 00:31

Can you read Chinese? Get hold of this kid's full name and address or mum's phone number. There are places you can report it to, at the very least they can talk to mum and try to make her see that they need help (or give her contacts for when she does eventually decide to get out and needs help doing it). ... &mp=107042

Here's the FAQ for Taipei City. There ARE places that deal with this stuff, and they're fairly good. Do it anonymously and don't tell anyone. If you can't get the information from the desk you could always tell all your students that you're going overseas and want to send everybody a postcard, so need their names and addresses.

Unfortunately for the boy it doesn't seem like it's serious enough for him to be pulled out of the home without mum's approval (though you never know). Keep an eye on him and be as supportive as you can be.

There's not too much you can do about the mother, abuse victims often don't realise they're the victims of abuse and it takes a lot to walk away from the abuser - it's not as simple as saying 'he's beating me, I must leave'. There are shattered hopes and dreams that need to be acknowledged and put away, and arrangements that have to be made, and then you have to go through the break up as well. Though I must admit that I have very little respect for someone who doesn't figure it out for their child, if not theirself. Google some stuff on surviving abuse to get an idea of what the victims are going through and how you can be as supportive as you can.
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Re: Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

Postby BigJohn » 26 Jun 2012, 11:42

Amasashi wrote:As the title says, should foreign teachers report cases of suspected child abuse?

In my opinion, you have a moral obligation as a teacher to report the abuse, unless reporting it will make it worse for the child.

Get advice from qualified professionals. I would start with a foreign lawyer with a lot of experience in Taiwan (Eiger dudes), as well as going to some kind of NGO or government agency for advice, perhaps through an intermediary at first if in the latter case.

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Re: Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

Postby Isha » 26 Jun 2012, 11:54

You should report, do it anonymously if you are worried about the job or future problems for yourself. It is perfectly acceptable in Taiwan to do so. Locals told me that there are laws to handle such situations.
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Re: Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

Postby ShaoLeFen » 01 Dec 2012, 00:59

In case anyone searches and finds this thread again, the thing to do is to call 113 from a landline or pay phone (cell phones don't work for some reason). I had to do this myself just a moment ago, and the situation of my student was not nearly as bad as the original poster sounds. Just get as much info as you can, like the child's Chinese name and address if possible. You can probably get their school name and ID number from their school uniform if they come straight from public school. I even used used my cell phone to take a picture which I e-mailed in to an address they gave me on the phone. I don't speak Chinese, and it just them a minute to get a translator on the phone. The whole process went smoothly.

As an aside, I think it's pathetic that any adult let alone a teacher or school staff (public or private) would fail to do anything about this. Or advise someone to sit back.

This is the e-mail they gave me if anyone is too shy to call:
Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

-----Jelalludin Rumi
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Re: Should Teachers Report Child Abuse?

Postby Travellin_writer » 03 Dec 2012, 20:52

Yes, of course.
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