1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements
Mandated reporters are required to notify the proper authorities in all cases where they suspect a child is the victim of abuse. The definition of abuse includes the involvement of a child in sexual activity that would constitute a crime under Louisiana law. It does not include any provisions that indicate that it applies only to defendants responsible for the care of the victim.
2. Mandatory reporters
Mandated reporters include any of the following individuals who, in their professional capacity, encounter a child who they suspect to be a victim of abuse: health practitioners; mental health/social service practitioners; members of the clergy; teaching or child care providers; and police officers or law enforcement officials.
3. Who to report to
Mandated reporters are required to notify the local child protection unit of the Department of Social Services in cases where the alleged abuse was perpetrated by: the victim’s parent or caretaker; a person who maintains an interpersonal dating or engagement relationship with the parent or caretaker; or a person living in the same residence with the parent or caretaker as a spouse whether married or not. In all other cases, the report must be made to a local or state law enforcement agency. Initial reports may be made orally, but they must be followed by a written report to the appropriate agency within 5 days.
4. State response
The Louisiana Children’s Code requires that as of February 2004, each judicial district in the state has a multi-disciplinary team that will be responsible for investigating all allegations of child abuse. Teams should include individuals from government and the private sector that have experience investigating child abuse and treating victims of abuse.