QUINCY (WGEM) — Mandated reporters can play an important role in recognizing when children are hurting and now Illinois’ list of mandated reporters is growing.
A new law in place adds occupational therapists and assistants, physiotherapists and assistants, and athletic trainers to the list of people required to report suspected child abuse.
Adams County Deputy Chief of Operations Patrick Frazier said expanding that list is good for child protection. He said mandatory reporters include people who spend a lot of time with children, such as healthcare professionals and teachers.
“Law enforcement often work with investigative councils, so if that group grows to include people like therapists or athletic trainers, that would be a good positive thing for cases to be reported and for people who can investigate this,” Frazier said.
Child Advocacy Network CAC coordinator Susan Tode said mandatory reporters are often the first to recognize signs of abuse.
She said the additions to the list of mandatory reporters mean more eyes are on possible cases of abuse. She said therapists and athletic trainers can see things others can’t.
“Generally in these areas they’re looking at children’s bodies and often the way bodies move and they can see when a child has been hurt or is moving in a way that would indicate injury,” Tode said.
She said other groups could be added to the list, including park workers, massage therapists or hairdressers, as all of them interact with children in a close environment and could notice any signs of abuse.
Tode said some signs of child abuse include unusual bruising on body parts like their face and neck, as well as children being frightened if they feel distressed over something small.
If you suspect a child is being abused, you can contact local law enforcement or the Department of Child and Family Services at 800-252-2873.
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