State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandatory reporters must report all cases where they have reasonable cause to believe that a child has been the victim of abuse.[473] Although the statutory definition of abuse does not make specific reference to the crimes listed in the previous section, it includes knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causing a minor child to be sexually abused.[474] The definition does not include any provisions that indicate that it applies only to defendants responsible for the care of the victim.

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include any individual who has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been the victim of abuse. The statute makes specific reference to physicians, medical institutions, nurses, school employees, and social workers.[475]

3. Who to report to

The Department of Health and Human Services is required to maintain a statewide toll-free hotline to receive reports of abuse at all times. Mandated reporters must notify the Department (through this hotline) or the proper law enforcement agency of cases of abuse. Initial reports must be followed by more detailed written reports.[476]

4. State response

Law enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Services must notify one another within one business day of receiving a report. Law enforcement is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and may request assistance from the Department.[477]