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Child Abuse Reporting. Introduction . It is estimated that three children die each day in this nation as a result of child abuse. Every day thousands of children are abused both physically and emotionally

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  • It is estimated that three children die each day in this nation as a result of child abuse.
  • Every day thousands of children are abused both physically and emotionally
  • Often by a member of their own family, an unmarried parent’s partner, or a caregiver
  • Professionals who deal with children play a critical role in protecting innocent children who may be suffering from abuse.
  • The first child abuse reporting law in California was enacted in 1963
  • Mandated only physicians to report physical abuse
  • Today, the law has been dramatically expanded to include a broad range of individuals and a more expansive definition of child abuse.
mandated reporters
Mandated Reporters
  • A teacher.
  • An instructional aide
  • A teacher’s aide/assistant.
  • A classified employee.
  • An administrative officer or supervisor of child welfare and attendance, or a certificated pupil personnel employee
  • An employee of a school district police or security department
mandated reporters1
Mandated Reporters

The primary intent of the reporting law is to:

  • protect an abused child from further abuse.
  • provide the opportunity to protect other children
  • provide help for the parents
  • be a catalyst for bringing about change in the home environment,
what do you have to report
What Do You Have To Report?
  • Under the law, when the victim is a child (person under the age of 18) and the perpetrator is any person (including another child), the following types of abuse must be reported:
what do you have to report1
What Do You Have To Report?
  • A physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means upon a child. A mutual altercation between minors or the reasonable force used by a peace officer acting within the scope of employment is not “reportable.”
  • Sexual abuse of a child, including both
  • sexual assault
  • sexual exploitation.
  • Sexual assault” includes rape; gang rape (or rape in concert); statutory rape (when the offender is 21 or older and the victim is under 16);
sexual assault
Sexual assault
  • Rape
  • Gang rape (or rape in concert)
  • Statutory rape (when the offender is 21 or older and the victim is under 16)
  • Incest
  • sodomy
sexual assault1
Sexual assault
  • Lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age, or with a 14 or 15 year old when the offender is at least 10 years older;
  • Oral copulation
  • Sexual penetration
  • Child molestation
sexual exploitation
Sexual Exploitation
  • Preparing, selling, or distributing pornographic materials involving children
  • Employing a minor to perform in pornography
  • Employing or coercing a child to engage in prostitution.
what do you have to report2
What Do You Have To Report?
  • Willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment, including inflicting or permitting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or endangering the child’s person or health.
what do you have to report3
What Do You Have To Report?
  • Willful infliction of cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or injury resulting in a traumatic condition.
what do you have to report4
What Do You Have To Report?
  • Neglect of a child, whether severe or general, by a person responsible for the child’s welfare. The term “neglect” includes both acts or omissions harming or threatening to harm the child’s health or welfare.
what do you have to report5
What Do You Have To Report?
  • Keep in mind that the primary intent of the reporting law is to protect an abused child from further abuse.
  • Be aware that abusers may include:

a. someone from the child’s home

b. a relative

c. another child

d. a stranger

what do you have to report6
What Do You Have To Report?
  • Be aware that abusers may include:

a. someone from the child’s home

b. a relative

c. another child

d. a stranger

e. an employee of the school district

what do you have to report7
What Do You Have To Report?
  • A school district employee carries the greatest liability for school districts should there be a suspicion and then a failure to report the suspicion
  • district administrators should not promote a culture that assumes there will be sexual misconduct by the staff
  • must also not turn away from acknowledging the possibility that it might happen.
reporting requirements
Reporting Requirements
  • According to the law, child abuse must be reported when a mandated reporter
  • “…in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment has knowledge of or observes a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect.”
reasonable suspicion
Reasonable “suspicion”
  • when it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain a suspicion,
  • based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position to suspect child abuse or neglect.
  • Basically, if a mandated reporter suspects that abuse has occurred, he or she should make a report.
reporting requirements1
Reporting Requirements
  • You must make a report immediately (or as soon as practically possible) by telephone and you must prepare and send a written report within 36 hours of receiving the information regarding the incident
reporting requirements2
Reporting Requirements
  • Written reports must be submitted on a Department of Justice form, which may be requested from your local police or sheriff’s department, county probation department, or county welfare department.
reporting requirements3
Reporting Requirements
  • The report must be made to any police department or sheriff’s department (not including a school district police or security department);
reporting requirements4
Reporting Requirements
  • County probation department (if designated by the county to receive mandated reports)
  • County welfare department
reporting requirements5
Reporting Requirements
  • It is important for mandated reporters to understand that it is the responsibility of the individual, not the district, to make the report. Simply reporting to your supervisor does not relieve you of your responsibility.
failure to make a required report
Failure to Make a Required Report
  • Punishable by:
  • up to six months in jail
  • and/or by $1,000 fine
  • Civil liability for damages to the victim may also be incurred
  • Educators who fail to report also risk losing their license or credential.
immunity and safeguards
Immunity and Safeguards
  • Mandated reporters have immunity from criminal or civil liability for any report required under the law.
  • If a mandated reporter is sued for making a report, he or she may be able to receive compensation (up to a limit) for legal fees incurred in defending against the action
immunity and safeguards1
Immunity and Safeguards
  • no supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit a mandated reporter’s reporting duties or subject the reporting person to any sanction for making a report.
  • Any supervisor who does so is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).
immunity and safeguards2
Immunity and Safeguards
  • The mandated reporter’s identity is confidential and may only be disclosed to specified persons and agencies.
indicators of child abuse
Indicators of Child Abuse
  • Physical Abuse:
  • defined as any act which results in a non-accidental physical injury.
  • Most often involves severe corporal punishment in which a frustrated or angry parent or other caregiver
  • Strikes
  • Shakes
  • Throws a child.
indicators of physical abuse
Indicators of physical abuse
  • Intentional assault:
  • such as burning
  • Biting
  • Cutting
  • Poking
  • Twisting limbs
  • Or otherwise torturing a child is also included in this category.
indicators of physical abuse1
Indicators of physical abuse
  • types and location of an injury can help distinguish accidental injuries from injuries inflicted by physical abuse
  • Typical locations of injuries resulting from abuse are the back surface of a child’s body from the neck to the knees, injuries to the face, and injuries to multiple parts of the body.
indicators of physical abuse2
Indicators of physical abuse
  • Bruises, burns, abrasions, lacerations, or swelling caused by other than accidental means
  • Belt buckle marks, handprints, bite marks, and pinches.
  • Child states injury was caused by abuse
  • Injury unusual for a specific age group
indicators of physical abuse3
Indicators of physical abuse
  • A history of previous or recurrent injuries.
  • Unexplained injuries; conflicting explanations or reasons for injury
  • Child excessively passive, compliant, or fearful.
  • Caretaker attempts to hide injuries.
  • Injuries to the shins, elbows, knees, and forehead are not typically sustained from abuse
indicators of child abuse cont
Indicators of Child Abuse (Cont.)


  • Neglect is essentially the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a parent or caretaker under circumstances that indicate harm to the child’s health or welfare
  • Severe neglect means the negligent failure of a parent or caretaker to protect the child from severe malnutrition or a medically diagnosed non-organic failure to thrive.
indicators of child abuse cont1
Indicators of Child Abuse (Cont.)
  • It also includes situations where the parent or caretaker willfully causes or permits the body or health of the child to be endangered.
      • includes the intentional failure to provide adequate
          • food
          • clothing,
          • shelter,
          • medical care
neglect may be suspected
Neglect may be suspected
  • Child is lacking adequate medical or dental care. Child is always sleepy or hungry.
  • Child is always dirty or inadequately dressed for weather conditions.
  • There is evidence of poor supervision.
  • Conditions in home are extremely or persistently unsafe or unsanitary.
  • Child appears to be malnourished
indicators of child abuse cont2
Indicators of Child Abuse (Cont.)

Sexual Abuse

  • Sexual abuse is defined as acts of sexual assault or sexual exploitation of a minor
  • may consist of many acts over a long period of time.
  • Victims range in age from less than one year through adolescence.
sexual abuse
Sexual Abuse
  • Extremely difficult for children to report sexual abuse
  • Without third-party reporting, the child often remains trapped in secrecy by shame, fear, and threats by the abuser
indicators of sexual abuse
Indicators of sexual abuse
  • Child reports sexual activities to a trusted person
  • most important indicator of sexual abuse is disclosure by a child to
      • A friend
      • Classmate
      • Teacher
      • Friend’s mother
      • Or other trusted adult.
sexual abuse1
Sexual Abuse
  • Detailed and age-inappropriate understanding of sexual behavior (especially by younger children).
  • Child has an injury or disease that is unusual for his or her specific age group.
  • Child wears torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Child is victim of other form of abuse.
what is not child abuse
What is Not Child Abuse?
  • Listed next are descriptions of situations or circumstances that are not child abuse for purposes of the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act:
what is not child abuse1
What is Not Child Abuse?
  • Injuries caused by two children fighting during a mutual altercation
  • An injury caused by reasonable and necessary force used by a peace officer acting within the course and scope of his or her employment as a peace officer
  • Voluntary sexual conduct between minors who are both under the age of 14 and who are of similar age and sophistication
what is not child abuse2
What is Not Child Abuse?
  • Pregnancy of a minor, regardless of her age, does not, in and of itself, constitute a basis for a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse
  • Consensual sexual activity involving children over 14 years of age (or 16 if the partner is over 21) may not be considered abuse
  • You must use professional judgment in making an assessment as to whether an abusive situation exists relative to consensual relationships
  • School teachers, principals, counselors, nurses, and other school personnel play a critical role in the early detection of child abuse
  • Symptoms or signs of abuse are often first seen by school personnel
  • school personnel should not hesitate to report suspicious injuries or behavior.
  • your duty is to report not investigate