Child Abuse Reporting Laws for West Virginia

State and Statute: West Virginia, Code §§ 49-2-801 et seq.

What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Reasonable cause to suspect physical, mental, emotional, sexual exploitation, or sexual abuse or neglect, and other conduct. [49-2-803(a)]

Mandatory Reporters: “Christian Science practitioner, religious healer, school teacher or other school personnel … child care … worker … member of the clergy … youth camp administrator or counselor, employee, coach or volunteer of an entity that provides organized activities for children.” [49-2-803(a)]

How and Where to Report: “(B)y telephone to the local department of child protective service agency and shall be followed by a written report within 48 hours if so requested by the receiving agency [and if the method for reporting is web based]. The state department shall establish and maintain a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone number (1-800-352-6513) to receive those calls reporting suspected or known child abuse or neglect.” [49-2-809(a)].

In cases involving serious physical harm or sexual abuse, “the reporter shall also immediately report, or cause a report to be made, to the State Police and any law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. Any person required to report under this article who is a member of the staff or volunteer of a public or private institution, school, entity that provides organized activities for children, facility or agency shall also immediately notify the person in charge of the institution, school, entity that provides organized activities for children, facility or agency, or a designated agent thereof, who may supplement the report or cause an additional report to be made: Provided, (t)hat notifying a person in charge, supervisor, or superior does not exempt a person from his or her mandate to report suspected abuse or neglect.” [49-2-803(a)]

Timeline to Report: “(I)mmediately, and not more than 24 hours after suspecting.” [49-2-803(a)]

Clergy Privilege: “The privileged quality of communications between husband and wife and between any professional person and his or her patient or his or her client, except that between attorney and client, is hereby abrogated in situations involving suspected or known child abuse or neglect.” [49-2-811]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: For abuse and neglect cases, a misdemeanor punishable by not more than 90 days in jail, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both. For sexual abuse cases, a misdemeanor punishable by not more than six months in jail, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. [49-2-812]

Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in West Virginia have recognized civil liability.

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person, official or institution participating in good faith in any act permitted or required by this article are immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might result by reason of those actions.” [49-2-810]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reporter’s identity not disclosed with statutory provisions authorizing disclosure of confidential records except in specific circumstances. [49-5-101(a)]

Additional Information for West Virginia:

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

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