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Glenn W Lambie
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Child abuse and neglect is a pervasive problem. Often professional school counselors (PSCs) express feelings of anxiety at the prospect of working with such cases. Indeed, one of educators' greatest fears is dealing with child abuse and neglect cases (Wilson, Ireton, & Wood, 1997). Rarely do ethical dilemmas confronting professional school counselors involve definitive "correct" or "incorrect" choices. However, when it comes to reporting suspected child abuse and/or neglect, explicit laws and policies require that counselors have appropriate procedures available for managing suspected abuse. This article (a) describes the prevalence and severity of abuse, (b) identifies the ethical and legal statutes associated with abuse, (c) presents indicators of abuse and guidelines for reporting suspected cases, and (d) offers a systemic prevention plan. It serves as a resource providing pragmatic guidelines and information to assist PSCs in making appropriate ethical and legal decisions when working with victims of abuse. For the purposes of the article, the term abuse is used to encompass physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect.