Statutory rape: mandatory reporting in the Title X clinics of North Carolina Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Risisky, Debra
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • Federal family planning clinics provide adolescents a safe place to receive contraception and maintain reproductive health without parental consent or prohibitive expense. The purpose of this study was to explore knowledge and opinions of family planning providers regarding counseling minors on sexually sensitive matters. Topics examined included providers': knowledge of state's statutory rape laws and federal Title X regulations; perceptions regarding counseling on sexually sensitive matters; and opinions on the possible conflict between mandatory statutory rape reporting and federal regulations regarding protection of confidentiality. This cross-sectional study surveyed all North Carolina health department family planning providers. Quantitative methods were used to examine knowledge levels and counseling comfort levels among providers. Qualitative analysis methods were used to examine the potential conflict between mandatory reporting and protection of confidentiality. Completion rate was 64% (n=397). Providers had higher knowledge of federal Title X regulations ( x =3.51 out of 4) than state statutory rape laws ( x =1.94 out of 4). Analysis of statutory rape knowledge and provider characteristics showed that only attending a larger number of training workshops was statistically significant; no statistically significant differences were seen among other provider characteristics and Title X knowledge. Providers had high levels of comfort concerning general and sexual health counseling, with mean scores of 3.44 and 3.35, respectively out of 4. Comfort dropped considerably when counseling a client who discloses sexual abuse ( x =2.86) or statutory rape ( x =2.69). Nurse practitioners and those with more continuing education had significantly higher comfort levels counseling on sexual abuse and statutory rape. Participants were evenly split regarding whether reporting hampered confidentiality; those agreeing felt it could limit clinic use and increase negative health consequences; those who disagreed felt it was important to advocate for their clients. This study is the first to delve into providers' opinions on their ability to meet the reproductive health needs of their adolescent clients given state laws and regulations. Increased training on sexual violence is desired by providers. Policies should be structured to ensure providers can protect the current and future health of adolescent clients.
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  • In Copyright
  • Moracco, Kathryn E.
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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