State and Statute: Alabama, Code §§ 26-14-1 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or mental abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect, or maltreatment. [26-14-1]
Mandatory Reporters: Includes “members of the clergy as defined in Rule 505 of the Alabama Rules of Evidence,” public and private K-12 employees, mental health professionals, school teachers and officials, day care workers or employees, or any other person called upon to render aid or medical assistance to any child, “when the child is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse.” [26-14-3(a)]
How and Where to Report: Oral report (face-to-face or via phone) followed by written report to chief of police, sheriff, or Department of Human Resources, or a duly constituted authority. [26-14-3(a)]
Timeline to Report: Immediately. [26-14-3(a)]
Clergy Privilege: “A member of the clergy shall not be required to report information gained solely in a confidential communication privileged pursuant to Rule 505 of the Alabama Rules of Evidence which communication shall continue to be privileged as provided by law.” [26-14-3(f)]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Misdemeanor punishable by not more than six months’ imprisonment or fine of not more than $500. [26-14-13]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Alabama have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person, firm, corporation, or official … participating in the making of a good faith report … pursuant to this chapter, or participating in a judicial proceeding resulting therefrom, shall, in so doing, be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.” [26-14-9]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Department has ability to refuse to disclose identifying information except when court orders disclosure based upon suspicion of false report. [26-14-8(f)]
Additional Information for Alabama:
- Phone information: 1-334-242-1310
- Online resources: https://dhr.alabama.gov/child-protective-services/child-abuse-neglect-reporting/
All information provided here was most recently verified in March 2023.