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The Penalties for Failing to Report Abuse "Immediately"

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.

An Arkansas appeals court ruled that a school counselor who reported a case of child abuse 14 days after learning about it had not reported the abuse "immediately" as required by the state child abuse reporting law, and therefore was properly convicted for the crime of failing to report abuse immediately and sentenced to one-year probation and payment of a $2,500 fine. An 18-year-old woman (the "victim") informed her father ...

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  • October 28, 2015

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