State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements

09/25/2000

1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse.[362]  The definition of child abuse includes sexual abuse, but it is specific to those responsible for the child.[363] However, Maine’s reporting requirements include a specific provision that also requires mandated reporters to notify authorities if they have cause to suspect that a child has been abused by a person not responsible for the child.[364]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandated reporters include the following individuals when acting in a professional capacity: physical and mental health providers; teachers, guidance counselors, and school officials; children’s summer camp administrators and counselors; social workers; court-appointed special advocates or guardians ad litem for a child; homemakers; social service workers; child care personnel; law enforcement officials; clergy members;[365] and chairs of professional licensing boards that have jurisdiction over mandated reporters.[366]

3. Who to report to

In cases where the perpetrator of the suspected abuse is a person responsible for the victim, mandated reporters must immediately notify the Department of Human Services. If the alleged defendant is an individual not responsible for the care of the victim, a report must be made to the appropriate district attorney’s office.[367] Initial reports should be made by telephone, and, if requested by the Department, followed by a written report within 48 hours.[368]

4. State response

The Department of Human Services is responsible for receiving and investigating reports of abuse perpetrated by someone responsible for the care of the victim.[369] All other reports are to be processed by the appropriate district attorney’s office.[370]