State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements

09/25/2000

1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandated reporters are required to report all cases in which they suspect a child has been the victim of abuse.[610] The statute defines abuse to include the crimes listed in the previous section, but it only applies to those cases where the crime was perpetrated by a person responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare.[611]

An additional reporting law specifically addresses the reporting of criminally inflicted injuries. It requires all health care professionals examining, attending, or treating a child who appears to be the victim of criminally injurious conduct to file a report with the proper authorities. The statute notes that criminally injurious conduct includes sexual offenses and does not include any provisions that indicate it only applies to person’s responsible for the child.[612]

2. Mandatory reporters

The requirement to report criminally injurious conduct only applies to health care professionals who encounter abuse through their work examining, attending, or treating a child.[613] All individuals who suspect that a child has been the victim of abuse are required to make a report to the proper authorities.[614]

3. Who to report to

Reports of criminally injurious conduct should be made—orally—to the nearest law enforcement agency in the county in which the crime occurred.[615] All other reports of suspected abuse should be made—orally or in writing—to the Department of Human Services; oral reports should promptly be followed by written reports.[616]

4. State response

The Department of Human Services is responsible for investigating all reports that it receives of child abuse. If the Department determines that the abuse was not perpetrated by someone responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare the case should be referred to the local law enforcement agency.[617]