Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Carol Stalker

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study addressed the question: Does a training workshop developed by a local child welfare agency have an impact on teachers’ and other school personnel’s knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviour with respect to reporting child abuse and neglect? Previous studies (mainly in the U.S.) have shown that teachers have a high rate of underreporting, which may leave children at risk of further harm. Few Canadian studies have been conducted and consequently this study offers a uniquely Canadian perspective. In total, 61 teachers and other school personnel from a large South-Western Ontario school board participated in the study. The sample was composed primarily of elementary teachers, but also included principals, educational assistants, student teachers, early childhood educators and a secretary. This one-group pretest-posttest study involved a two-part self-administered questionnaire that was completed before and after a training seminar. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The training seminar was provided by social workers from a local Children’s Aid Society. Analysis of the data revealed statistically significant differences between pre and post tests in terms of participants’ knowledge of and attitudes towards their responsibility to report concerns regarding a child. A majority of the participants also indicated that they would be more likely to report suspicions of abuse or neglect following the training seminar. Qualitative data indicated that some participants were uncertain about the effectiveness of the child welfare system and as a result were reluctant to report. When participants expressed a reluctance to report, it was associated with concern that the report might do the child more harm than good. Other participants indicated that they believed they had a moral, professional and/or legal responsibility to report. At both ends of the continuum was a desire to act in the best interest of the child. Implication for future research and professional practice are discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season