State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

The Massachusetts General Laws require mandated reporters to report all instances where they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of abuse, including sexual abuse. The reporting requirements do not include any provisions that indicates that it applies only to parents, guardians, or other individuals responsible for the welfare of the child.[388]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include any of the following individuals who, in their professional capacity, suspect child abuse: physical and mental health providers; teachers; educational administrators; guidance or family counselors; child care workers; law enforcement officers; social workers; foster parents; members of the clergy;[389] and drug and alcoholism counselors.[390]

3. Who to report to

Mandated reports must make oral reports to the Department of Social Services in all cases of suspected abuse; they must make a written report within 48 hours of the initial report.[391]

4. State response

The Department of Social Services is responsible for investigating all reports of alleged child abuse. The Department is also required to notify the county district attorney of all reports. In cases where the alleged offense includes sexual assault, the Department must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of the outcome of its investigation.[392]