Mandatory Reporting

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The mandatory reporting law is a great law that is in need of major revisions.

The role of the doctor has been clear and distinct in my life. I have always looked at my doctor as a person who assists me with health issues. But somewhere down the line, the role of the doctor has changed. Doctors are taking on the decision making of the patient. In a recent bill that was passed, practitioners are required to report any physical injury that is due to firearm, assault, or abusive conduct. This law is called, “The Mandatory Reporting Law”, in which it aids victims of domestic violence. However the word “aid” has speculated through many people in examining this law. Mandatory Reporting has become a big controversial topic, in which people are investigating the pros and cons. To understand the pros and cons of the Mandatory Reporting law it is important to address the historical and social relevance of domestic violence. Domestic violence has been an ongoing problem for centuries. Historically men would have power over their wives. Women would be beaten for not having the dinner made or not taking part in sexual activities. Domestic violence was very common, in which the man would usually be the batterer and the woman would be the victim. Taking into consideration that women had no rights or power, they were subject to the abuse, society treated spousal abuse as a normal way of life—domestic violence was not seen as a crime. According to Dr. Mitizi Krocker (Roan, 1996) many practitioners and police felt that it was not their job to assist in domestic violence situation. As years went by, women were starting to gain rights. Women started talking about their abuse and finding the courage to leave. As a result, resources were developing for victims of domestic abuse. A resource that was developed was the Mandatory Reporting Law. The Mandatory Reporting Law stemmed out of the ideologies of society not caring or taking domestic violence seriously. There were too many batterers getting off the hook and or not being caught. The Mandatory Reporting law would assist in building a stronger case for victims and creating a method for batterers to be prosecuted. Mandatory Reporting was introduced by Jackie Speier (Assemblywoman) in the O.J. Simpson era. In 1994, as Americans tuned into the O.J. Simpson case, domestic violence was becoming an interesting subject. People were eager to find out if Nicole Simpson (a battered wife killed) would be found justice. When the verdict was reached, domestic violence was confirmed as an insignificant matter. Unfortunately, O.J. Simpson was released and dropped of charges because of the lack of evidence in the defense of Nicole. Mandatory Reporting has been a tool that can help in the defense of a victim. Many victims are abused and never tell anyone and or visit a practitioner. As a result, when the victim appears in court they usually have no solid proof on the accusers side. With the help of Mandatory Reporting, practitioner are required to document and make a police report, in which hard core evidence is produced. Kramer (one of the victims in Smith article) suggests that mandatory reporting is an excellent resource—women that are victims of domestic violence are forced to report. She further explains that women who have come into hospitals have altered the truth about their injuries. Mandatory Reporting will confirm that these women will be taken care of, in regards to the batterer being confronted. Mandatory Reporting is available at any licensed doctor who performs medical services to the victim. The practitioner is automatically required to assist in domestic abuse cases. The question to be raised is what happens when victims do not want to be reported? Under the law practitioners are not required to inform the patient of the reporting. Victims are reported rather than agree or disagree to the terms. The doctor is obligated to report any suspicious behavior...
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