The influence of racial perception on the recognition and reporting of child neglect.

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Background: A major concern in the detection and reporting of child abuse and neglect regards the phenomenon of racial bias. Objective: This research examined whether the assessment and/or decision making concerning a case of neglect by Student Guidance Center-workers (SGC) is racially biased. Participants and setting: 238 Flemish SGC-workers participated and filled in the questionnaire. Methods: A visual vignette was used. SGC-workers were shown pictures of a neglectful situation that randomly varied with respect to whether the child in the picture was colored or white or whether the room was empty. Participants indicated (1) if this was a situation of neglect (yes/no) and (2) if they would report this situation (yes/no). Results: The assessment was influenced by the color of the child with a moderate effect (V = 0.23). In case of a white child, 84 % of the respondents assessed the situation as neglect. In case of an empty room 71 % and in case of a colored child only 58 % assessed the situation as neglect (p = .002). Reporting of the case was not influenced by the color of the child (p = .875). Conclusions: SGC-workers assessment of neglect appears to be racially biased. White children are considered more as neglected compared to their colored counterparts. Implementing strategies in order to decrease the racial bias is important.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106389
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalChild Abuse & Neglect
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Declaration of interest: None. Funding: none

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


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