State and Statute: Texas, Family Code §§ 261.101 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, mental, or sexual abuse or neglect. [261.001 and 261.101(a)]
Mandatory Reporters: Any person. [261.101(a)]
How and Where to Report: Any local or state law enforcement agency, the department, or the state agency that operates, licenses, certifies, or registers the facility in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred. [261.103(a)]
Timeline to Report: Immediately. [261.101(a)] A professional who becomes aware of actual or suspected abuse within their professional capacities must report within 48 hours. [261.101(b)]
Clergy Privilege: “The requirement to report under this section applies without exception to an individual whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including … a member of the clergy.” [261.101(c)]
“In a proceeding regarding the abuse or neglect of a child, evidence may not be excluded on the ground of privileged communication except in the case of communications between an attorney and client.” [261.202]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class A misdemeanor, but it is a “state jail felony” if mandated reporter attempted to conceal the abuse. [261.109(c)]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Texas have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “A person acting in good faith who reports or assists in the investigation of a report of alleged child abuse or neglect … is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.” [261.106(a)]
“A person who … [knowingly makes a false report] is liable to the state for a civil penalty of $1,000.” [261.107E]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reporter’s identity is confidential absent written waiver and may be disclosed only as provided by statute. [261.101(d)]
Additional Information for Texas:
- Phone information (toll-free): 1-800-252-5400
- Online resources: https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Contact_Us/report_abuse.asp and https://www.txabusehotline.org/Login/Default.aspx
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.