State and Statute: Virginia, Code §§ 63.2-1501 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or mental abuse or neglect by a child’s parent or “other person responsible for his care.” [63.2-100]
Mandatory Reporters: Includes “(a)ny minister, priest, rabbi, imam, or duly accredited practitioner of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church” [63.2-1509(19)]; any teacher or other person employed in a public or private school or nursery school; mental health professional; “any person providing full-time or part-time child care for pay on a regularly planned basis”; [63.2-1509(6)] and “any person 18 years of age or older associated with or employed by any public or private organization responsible for the care, custody or control of children.” [63.2-1509(11)]
If the information is received by a teacher, staff member, resident, intern or nurse in the course of professional services in a hospital, school or similar institution, such person may, in place of said report, immediately notify the person in charge of the institution or department, or his designee, who shall make such report forthwith. [63.2-1509(20)(A)]
“No person shall be required to make a report pursuant to this section if the person has actual knowledge that the same matter has already been reported to the local department or the Department’s toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline.” [63.2-1509(20)(E)]
How and Where to Report: Orally or in writing to the local department of the county or city where the abuse or neglect occurred or was discovered, or to the Department of Social Services’ 24-hour, toll-free hotline (1-800-552-7096). [63.2-1509(A)]
Timeline to Report: “Immediately, but not longer than 24 hours after having reason to suspect a reportable offense of child abuse” [63.2-1509(A)(D)]
Clergy Privilege: Ministers are considered mandatory reporters “unless the information supporting the suspicion of child abuse or neglect (i) is required by the doctrine of the religious organization or denomination to be kept in a confidential manner or (ii) would be subject to 8.01-400 or 19.2-271.3 if offered as evidence in court.” [63.2-1509(19)]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: A fine of not more than $500 for first offense, and not less than $1,000 for subsequent offenses. Class 1 misdemeanor for knowingly and intentionally failing to report sexual abuse. [63.2-1509(20)(D)]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Virginia have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person who makes a report … shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability or administrative penalty or sanction on account of such report … unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose.” [63.2-1509(C)] and [63.2-1512]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reporter’s identity not disclosed with any statutory notice to alleged perpetrator. Reporter’s identity may be disclosed if department determines report was made in bad faith or malicious intent and department determines disclosure would not endanger reporter’s life or safety. [63.2-1514(C)(D)]
Additional Information for Virginia:
- 24-hour, toll-free hotline: 1-804-786-8536; 1-800-552-7096 for persons out of state who make a report*
- Online resources: http://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/cps/index.cgi
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.