State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandated reporters are required to notify the proper authorities in all cases where they suspect a child is the victim of abuse.[341] The definition of abuse includes the involvement of a child in sexual activity that would constitute a crime under Louisiana law. It does not include any provisions that indicate that it applies only to defendants responsible for the care of the victim.[342]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandated reporters include any of the following individuals who, in their professional capacity, encounter a child who they suspect to be a victim of abuse: health practitioners; mental health/social service practitioners; members of the clergy;[343] teaching or child care providers; and police officers or law enforcement officials.[344]

3. Who to report to

Mandated reporters are required to notify the local child protection unit of the Department of Social Services in cases where the alleged abuse was perpetrated by: the victim’s parent or caretaker; a person who maintains an interpersonal dating or engagement relationship with the parent or caretaker; or a person living in the same residence with the parent or caretaker as a spouse whether married or not. In all other cases, the report must be made to a local or state law enforcement agency. Initial reports may be made orally, but they must be followed by a written report to the appropriate agency within 5 days.[345]

4. State response

The Louisiana Children’s Code requires that as of February 2004, each judicial district in the state has a multi-disciplinary team that will be responsible for investigating all allegations of child abuse.[346] Teams should include individuals from government and the private sector that have experience investigating child abuse and treating victims of abuse.[347]