Child Abuse Reporting
What are Child Abuse Reporting Laws?
Child Abuse Reporting laws are a body of laws identifying who should report child abuse, and under which circumstances. They create an obligation for certain persons (especially teachers and child care providers) to notify authorities if they have suspect that a child has been a victim of abuse.
Child abuse reporting may be different from state to state, but generally cover:
- When to report child abuse
- How to identify signs or symptoms of child abuse
- Differences between physical, mental, or sexual abuse
- Various other legal and health issues
Reports of child abuse should be made to local law enforcement authorities or to a lawyer. Child abuse is a serious crime and a failure to report such crimes can lead to legal consequences. Reporting laws may also cover other violations like child neglect or child abandonment.
What is Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting?
Mandatory reporting refers to situations where reporting child abuse is required under law. This usually applies to persons engaged in certain professions, especially those that require frequent interaction with and supervision of children.
Some professions that may be subject to mandatory child abuse reporting standards may include:
- Teachers and teacher’s aides
- School advisors and other school personnel
- Day care workers
- Counselors, especially ones serving at a school
- Doctors, dentists, and nurses
- Social workers
- Police Officers
If a person has a legal obligation to report child abuse, but fails to do so, they might become subject to various legal consequences. They might also face other repercussions in different areas, such as a loss of their job or practicing license.
The training provided for these types of professions will usually instruct you as to whether or not you have an obligation to report child abuse. If you’re unsure of your legal responsibilities, a lawyer can help clarify the different child abuse reporting laws that might apply to you.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Child Abuse Reporting Issues?
Child abuse reporting laws are important for protecting the health and safety of children. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you are involved in any instances of child abuse reporting. You may be called upon as a witness or may be requested to provide evidence for the hearings. Your attorney can help guide you through the process and will be able to represent you in court if needed.
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Last Modified: 12-27-2012 12:09 PM PST
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