State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandated reporters must make a report in all cases where they suspect a child to be a victim of abuse.[287] The definition of child abuse includes the sexual offenses detailed in the previous section; however it only applies to those cases where the defendant is someone responsible for the care of the child in question.[288] The reporting requirement makes an exception for those cases involving a victim who is less than 12 years of age, in which case mandated reporters must notify the proper authorities of suspected sexual abuse regardless of the defendant’s relationship to the victim.[289]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandated reporters include persons in any of the following positions who encounter a case of abuse through their professional practice or employment responsibilities: health practitioners; social workers; employees and operators of public or private health care facilities; mental health providers; school employees; child care workers and administrators; employees and operators of substance abuse programs; employees of Department of Human Services institutions; foster care providers; and peace officers.[290]

3. Who to report to

Mandated reporters must make an oral report of suspected abuse to the Department of Human Services within 24 hours.[291] If the reporter feels that the child is in immediate need of protection, he or she must also report the case to law enforcement. Individuals must submit a written report to the Department within 48 hours of making an oral report.[292]

4. State response

The Department of Human Services is responsible for determining whether each report they received constitutes an allegation of child abuse and notifying the appropriate county attorney. If the report alleges sexual abuse by someone not responsible for the child, the Department must refer the report to the local law enforcement agency.[293]