Child Abuse Reporting Laws for Indiana

State and Statute: Indiana, Code §§ 31-33-5-1 et seq.

What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, mental abuse, or neglect. [31-33-5-1] and [31-9-2-14]

Mandatory Reporters: “An individual who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect shall make a report.” [31-33-5-1]

“If an individual is required to make a report under this article in the individual’s capacity as a member of the staff of a…public or private institution, school, facility, or agency, the individual shall immediately make a report to: (1) the department; or (2) the local law enforcement agency…after making the report, the individual shall notify the individual in charge of the institution, school, facility, or agency or the designated agent of the individual in charge of the institution, facility, or agency that the report was made” [31-33-5-2(b)]

“This chapter does not relieve an individual of the obligation to report on the individual’s own behalf, unless a report has already been made to the best of the individual’s belief.” [31-33-5-3]

How and Where to Report: Oral or written report to the Department of Child Services or the local law enforcement agency. [31-33-5-4]

Timeline to Report: Immediately. [31-33-5-4]

Clergy Privilege: “The privileged communication between: (1) a husband and wife; (2) a health care provider and the health care provider’s patient; (3) a: (A) licensed social worker; (B) licensed clinical social worker; (C) licensed marriage and family therapist; (D) licensed mental health counselor; (E) licensed addiction counselor; or (F) licensed clinical addiction counselor; and a client of any of the professionals described in clauses (A) through (F); (4) a school counselor and a student; or (5) a school psychologist and a student; is not a ground for excluding evidence in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report of a child who may be a victim of child abuse or neglect or relating to the subject matter of the report or failing to report as required by IC 31-33.” [31-32-11-1]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class B misdemeanor [31-33-22-1]

Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability, but court rulings in this state have. Consult with legal counsel.

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: Immunity “from any civil or criminal liability” exists “even if the reported child abuse or neglect is classified by the department as unsubstantiated.” However, “(i)mmunity does not attach for a person who has acted with: (1) gross negligence; or (2) willful or wanton misconduct.” [31-33-6-1] and [31-33-6-2]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Statutory access to reporter identification addressed in 31-33-18-2 and 31-33-26-5.

Additional Information for Indiana:

All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.

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