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Child Abuse Reporting

A California court ruled that a school counselor who reported suspected child abuse to civil authorities could not be sued for defamation and emotional distress.

California
State:
Key point 4-08. Every state has a child abuse reporting law that requires persons designated as mandatory reporters to report known or reasonably suspected incidents of child abuse. Ministers are mandatory reporters in many states. Some states exempt ministers from reporting child abuse if they learned of the abuse in the course of a conversation protected by the clergy-penitent privilege. Ministers may face criminal and civil liability for failing to report child abuse.

A California court ruled that a school counselor who reported suspected child abuse to civil authorities could not be sued for defamation and emotional distress as a result of his disclosure to the victim's mother that he had reported the abuse.

The victim's mother informed the school counselor that her son had been molested by another student. The counselor reported the abuse to civil authorities, and then informed ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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