Reversing the ‘syndrome of secrecy’: Peremptory reporting obligations in cases of child abuse and neglect




Mandatory reporting laws are a controversial mechanism that require members of particular occupations to report cases of serious child maltreatment that they encounter in the course of their work to welfare or law enforcement agencies. In April 2019 a video went viral in which a woman filmed her colleague beating toddlers at a crèche in Gauteng. The crèche was closed, and arrests were made, including of the videographer. Given extent of violence and abuse against South African children, this paper investigates whether South African law adequately provides for the liability of those compelled to report child abuse but who fail to do so, why mandated reporters fail to report abuse, and how South Africa’s mandatory reporting rules should be amended to better serve their purpose. 


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Author Biography

Mildred Bekink, University of South Africa

Mildred Bekink is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mercantile Law, College of Law at the University of South Africa. She holds a doctorate in child law from the University of South Africa. Her main research interests are child law and family law. She has published widely in these fields. 






Research articles