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      An abused child's first line of defense

      On Friday mandated reporters and those who will become one in the future, attended a seminar to address some of the challenges they will face.

      Mandated reporters are considered the first line of defense for children who may have been abused or neglected.

      Professionals who work with children such as counselors, clergy, coaches and teachers are mandated by law to report those incidents to law enforcement.

      On Friday mandated reporters and those who will become one in the future, attended a seminar to address some of the challenges they will face.

      Shandi Joubert-Kanz is a forensic interviewer with the Child Advocacy Center of Northeast Missouri .

      She says one of the big challenges is making sure that the child is comfortable and feels safe to speak about what they are going through.

      "If we're not coming at them as easily as we can or we're being abrasive or we're hurting their feelings, it's really difficult for them to keep talking," Shandi Joubert-Kanz said. "And we want to give them an opportunity to be able to find that peace and get to a good place. And we're the first step for that."

      Missouri law regarding mandated reporting has recently changed.

      It used to be that one person in a school was responsible for calling a hotline number to report the abuse. But now whoever is the first person to hear the abuse report is responsible for making that call.

      Here are some links to sites in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.