State and Statute: Arizona, Stats. §§ 13-3620 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, emotional damage, or neglect [13-3620(A)] or sexual exploitation. [and Stats. § 8-201]
Mandatory Reporters: Any “person” who reasonably believes that a minor is or has been the victim of child abuse; a “person” defined to include any “member of the clergy, priest, or Christian Science practitioner,” parent, stepparent, guardian, school personnel, counselor, or “any other person who has responsibility for the care or treatment of the minor.” [13-3620(A)]
“A report is not required … if the conduct involves only minors who are fourteen, fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age and there is nothing to indicate that the conduct is other than consensual.” [13-3620(B)(1)]
How and Where to Report: Electronically or by telephone to a peace officer or to the department of child safety or to a tribal law enforcement or social services agency for any Indian minor. [13-3620(A)] and [13-3620(D)]
Timeline to Report: Immediately. [13-3620(A)] and [13-3620(D)]
Clergy Privilege: “A member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner or priest who has received a confidential communication or a confession in that person’s role as a member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner or a priest in the course of the discipline enjoined by the church to which the member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner or priest belongs may withhold reporting of the communication or confession if the member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner or priest determines that it is reasonable and necessary within the concepts of the religion. This exemption applies only to the communication or confession and not to personal observations the member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner or priest may otherwise make of the minor.” [13-3620(A)]
In any civil or criminal litigation regarding child abuse, a member of the clergy, a Christian Science practitioner, or priest shall not, without his consent, be examined as a witness concerning any confession made to him in his role . . . in the course of the discipline enjoined by the church to which he belongs. [13-3620(L)]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class 1 misdemeanor; Class 6 felony if failure to report involves “reportable offense.” [13-3620(O)]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Arizona have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “A person who furnishes a report, information, or records required or authorized under this section, or a person who participates in a judicial or administrative proceeding or investigation resulting from a report . . . is immune from any civil or criminal liabiltiy by reason of that action unless the person acted with malice or unless the person hs been charged with or is suspected of abusing or neglecting the chold or choldren in question.” [13-3620(J)]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Statutory release of information requires department to take whatever precautions are reasonably necessary to protect reporter’s identity and safety. However, if an alleged perpetrator believes a report was made in bad faith or with malicious intent, the alleged perpetrator may petition a judge to order department to release information and may make information subject to discovery in any subsequent related legal action. [8-807(L) (See section M)] The department shall redact the identity of the reporting source before transmitting the information to the office of administrative hearings. [8-811(I)] For any hearing on a proposed finding of abuse or neglect, reporter’s identity is not to be disclosed without reporter’s permission. [8-811(J)(3)]
Additional Information for Arizona:
- Phone information (toll-free): 1-888-767-2445
- Online resources: https://dcs.az.gov/report-child-abuse
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.