or order, which usually comes in the form of a law, rule, or regulation.
Today there seem to be a lot of these mandates, so mandatory seat belts, mandatory inspections for industries, and mandatory prison sentences for violent crimes are regularly in the news.
This expansion was accompanied by broader requirements for reporting abuse: previously reports were only submitted when an incident caused serious physical injury, but as the definitions changed, more minor physical injuries and developmental and psychological trauma began to be included as well.
In 2015-16, of the total number of notifications (355,935), 164,987 cases (involving 115,024 children) of child abuse were investigated or were in the process of being investigated.
England provides data on substantiations but not reports.
From 1992 to 2009 in the US, substantiated cases of sexual abuse declined 62%, physical abuse decreased 56% and neglect 10%.
The Council of Europe has urged all countries to have mandatory reporting of child abuse but several European countries do not.
Under UK law only local authority social workers, health and social service board social workers (Northern Ireland) and police have a duty to report suspicions that a child is in need of care and protection.
Local child protection guidelines and professional codes of conduct may expect other professionals, such as teachers and medical staff, to report, but they do not have to do so as a matter of law.
These laws and the media and advocacy coverage and research brought about a gradual change in societal expectations on reporting in the United States and, at different rates, in other western nations.
Originally created to respond to physical abuse, reporting systems in various countries began to expand to address sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic abuse.
More than half (15) of the EU member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden) have specific reporting obligations addressing civilians, with specific obligations for civilians to report cases of child abuse, neglect and/or exploitation.