1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements
Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse. The definition of child abuse includes sexual abuse, but it is specific to those responsible for the child. 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.
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; and chairs of professional licensing boards that have jurisdiction over mandated reporters.
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. Initial reports should be made by telephone, and, if requested by the Department, followed by a written report within 48 hours.
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. All other reports are to be processed by the appropriate district attorney’s office.