failing to engage in ethical practices - JRice Health care & Business
failing to engage in ethical practices
Introduction A business must understand the consequences of failing to engage in ethical practices within its community. •What ethical obligations do businesses have to report child abuse to authorities? For example, should a manager of a grocery store be obligated to report to authorities when she has repeated contact with a mother/child, and notices marks on the child that is abuse? This is a very relevant topic for me as I work at a children’s hospital and I have, on numerous occasions, have cared for children that have been the victims of child abuse or neglect. As a health care worker, I am legally required to report any suspicions of child abuse or neglect. In the state of Ohio the law is: 2919.22 Endangering children (B) Anyone who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in similar circumstances to suspect, that a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or other condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child may report or cause reports to be made of that knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect to the entity or persons specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, a person making a report or causing a report to be made under this division shall make it or cause it to be made to the public children services agency or to a municipal or county peace officer. In the circumstances described in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, a person making a report or causing a report to be made under this division shall make it or cause it to be made to the entity specified in that section. (C) Any report made pursuant to division (A) or (B) of this section shall be made forthwith either by telephone or in person and shall be followed by a written report, if requested by the receiving agency or officer. The written report shall contain: (1) The names and addresses of the child and the child''s parents or the person or persons having custody of the child, if known; (2) The child''s age and the nature and extent of the child''s injuries, abuse, or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed, as applicable, to have occurred or of the threat of injury, abuse, or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed, as applicable, to exist, including any evidence of previous injuries, abuse, or neglect; (3) Any other information that might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injury, abuse, or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed, as applicable, to have occurred or of the threat of injury, abuse, or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed, as applicable, to exist.[i] After the complaint is filed a child protective services investigator conducts an interview. If the child is determined to be in danger, it will be removed and the case is referred to the local social service agency. Businesses, and every adult, have an ethical responsibility to report any suspected cases of abuse or neglected. In the state of Ohio: “A mandated reporter is someone required by law to report if they suspect or know that child abuse if occurring. A list of mandated reporters for Ohio includes: Attorneys Audiologists Child care workers Children Services personnel Clergy Coroners Day care personnel Dentists Nurses Physicians including hospital interns and residents Podiatrists Psychiatrists School authorities, employees and teachers Social Workers Speech Pathologists Animal Control Officers/Agents”[ii] Reports can be anonymous and to report you contact the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at 855-O-H-CHILD (855-642-4453). Failure to report is a punishable crime. Penn State felt the punishment that failure to report brings. Dr. Peter Zafirides, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Ohio State University’s Department of Psychiatry describes people not reporting because they are in a stressful situation. It isn’t because we are cold unfeeling people; it is because in an instant we look around to get proof of how we should act. If no one responds, then that becomes the behavioral norm. Once someone responds, others tend to respond.”[iii] For this case, unless the business is one that was previously mentioned, there is no legal obligation to report but there is an ethical one. If a person suspects child abuse/neglect, they should contact the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the case will be investigated. •What ethical obligations would a business have if it had knowledge regarding three women in a home in Cleveland, with a child (see above article). All three of these women were abducted as minors. At the hospital, we are permitted to restrain someone if they are a threat to themselves or another. In this case, the women were kidnapped and then restrained against their will which violates 2905.03 Unlawful restraint. (A) No person, without privilege to do so, shall knowingly restrain another of the other person''s liberty. (B) No person, without privilege to do so and with a sexual motivation, shall knowingly restrain another of the other person''s liberty. (C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of unlawful restraint, a misdemeanor of the third degree. (D) As used in this section, "sexual motivation" has the same meaning as in section 2971.01 of the Revised Code.[iv] Anyone that saw suspicious activity in the house they were being held captive would have an ethical obligation to report, but not a legal one. I still have a hard time believing that this event actually happened. If someone knew about the situation and did not report it then they would be punishable for failure to report child abuse. The best ethical action plan I can think of is evaluating the situation in terms of “if I do nothing, will someone else get hurt?” If you think yes, then you should follow through and report. [i] http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2151.421 [ii] http://jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/reportchildabuseandneglect.stm [iii] Borowski, S. (2012). The Penn State System Failure: Legal and moral obligations in reporting abuse. INSIGHT Into Diversity, 78(4/5), 6-7. [iv] http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2905.03
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