State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Alabama statutes require mandated reporters to report all instances where they suspect a child to be a victim of child abuse.[48] The statutes define child abuse to include harm caused through sexual abuse, including rape. The definition of sexual abuse does not include any provisions that indicate that it applies only to parents, guardians, or custodians of the child in question.[49]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include: physical and mental health providers; school teachers and officials; law enforcement officials; social workers; day care workers or employees; or any other person called upon to render aid or medical assistance to any child.[50]

3. Who to report to

Mandatory reporters must make an oral report to law enforcement or the Department of Human Resources if they suspect that a child is a victim of abuse. All oral reports must be immediately followed by a written report.[51]

4. State response

The Department of Human Resources is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse promptly after receiving an oral or written report. The Department must produce a written report documenting its findings and recommendations.[52] In the event that the initial report of abuse is made to a law enforcement official, the individual is required to inform the Department. The statute indicates that nothing precludes the Department from working with other agencies in the process of its investigation.[53]