State and Statute: Mississippi, Code §§ 43-21-353 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or mental abuse, or neglect. [43-21-353] and [43-21-105(m)]
Mandatory Reporters: Includes any minister, child care giver, private school employee, or “any other person having reasonable cause to suspect” that a child is abused. [43-21-353(1)]
How and Where to Report: Oral report by telephone to the Department of Child Protection Services, followed by a written report as soon as possible. [43-21-353(1)]
Timeline to Report: Immediately. [43-21-353(1)]
Clergy Privilege: No reference.
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Fine not to exceed $5,000, or imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both. [43-21-353(7)]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Mississippi have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: Any person or institution reporting in good faith shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal. [43-21-355]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reports and the identity of the reporter are confidential except if the court determines the testimony of the person reporting to be material to a judicial proceeding. Reporter identity also may be disclosed to law enforcement and prosecutors. [43-21-353(4)]
Additional Information for Mississippi:
- Phone information (toll-free): 1-800-222-8000
- Online resources: https://reportabuse.mdcps.ms.gov/
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.