Thus, this paper introduces child abuse and abuse of the elderly. It presents and discusses the legal, moral and ethical obligations a healthcare worker has in reporting suspected child abuse or elderly abuse encountered in their professional practice.
To start with, it is possible to say that there are some legal, moral and ethical obligations a healthcare worker has in reporting suspected child abuse or elderly abuse.
Reporting suspected child abuse situations and cases is a legal, ethical, and moral obligation for every healthcare worker.
Licensed healthcare workers should report about known and well-grounded suspected child abuse or elder abuse situations to the authorities who control those cases. Law grants some immunity from liability for the reporters who adhere to their reporting obligations. Furthermore, it should be mentioned that a healthcare worker who does not inform the appropriate authorities or neglects of his/her duties, which refer to a well-grounded suspected abuse of the children or elderly, may be punished in accordance with the law.
In addition to the above-mentioned information, it is possible to add that a healthcare worker has to inform or contact authorities in a case when, in the course of his or her training or during his/her work, a reporter suspected or has reasonable grounds to assert that a child or an elderly person became a victim of neglect or abuse.
Moreover, a healthcare worker ought to inform authorities if a child or an elderly person told him/her that she or she was subject to neglect or abuse, implying as follows: physical, emotional, sexual abuse, isolation, offences, etc. The reporter also should specify the possible injuries, which indicate a possible insult to a child or an old person.
This is an incontrovertible fact that the reports concerning elder or child abuse are private and confidential. Besides, the healthcare workers have the right to provide the required reports in cases of necessity, since they enjoy immunity from criminal or civil liability.
Taking the above-stated information into consideration, it is possible to draw a conclusion that any form of child or elder abuse leads to a variety of consequences, but they all share one thing – a damage to a child’s and an old person’s health or a danger to his/her life. There is no doubt that healthcare workers and physicians can help in this matter, but we should remember that this problem can be solved by implementing all forces that should be aimed at eliminating this social problem. The implementation of child rights, protecting them from all forms of violence, the happiness of every child largely depends on us, and our relation to the infringement of children’s rights.
Johnson, T. F. (1991). Elder mistreatment: Deciding who is at risk. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Martin, M. J. (1992). Child Sexual Abuse: Preventing Continued Victimization by the Criminal Justice System and Associated Agencies. Family Relations, 41 (3), 330-333.
Pedrick-Cornell, C., & Gelles, R. (1982). Elder Abuse: The Status of Current Knowledge. Family Relations, 31 (3), 457-465.