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REPORTING: When to Report

As a mandated reporter, you must report abuse:

  • When there is reasonable cause to suspect the child under 18 years of age or older than 18 years and defined to have a handicapping condition, being seen in a professional capacity, is abused by a legally responsible caregiver.

  • When a parent or other person legally responsible for a child reports to you from personal knowledge information that, if correct, would indicate that the child has been abused.

  • When the child or adolescent reports to you an experience of abuse perpetrated by a legally responsible caregiver.

  • When there is reasonable cause to suspect that a parent or other legally responsible person knowingly allows a child to be abused or in any way endangers the welfare of the child.



Definitions of Abuse statutory rape
line statutory rape The following definitions of child abuse from the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/state/ are offered for reference:

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is characterized by the infliction of physical injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child.

Child Neglect
Child neglect is characterized by failure to provide for the child's basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional.

Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. The American Academy of Pediatrics defines sexual abuse as "the engaging of a child in sexual activities that the child can not comprehend, for which the child is developmentally unprepared and cannot give informed consent, and/or that violate the social and legal taboos of society." For more information, see Guidelines for the Evaluation of Sexual Abuse of Children: Subject Review.

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse (psychological/verbal abuse/mental injury) includes acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. Six forms of psychological maltreatment are described by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and include spurning, exploiting/ corrupting, terrorizing, denying emotional responsiveness, isolating, and unwarranted denial of mental health care, medical care, or education.

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (medical abuse) is the name for a subset of factitious disorders in which a caregiver simulates or produces an illness in a child in order to enhance her role as caregiver. (Reece RM. Treatment of Child Abuse: Common Ground for Mental Health, Medical and Legal Practitioners.)

Each state is responsible for providing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect within the civil and criminal codes. Civil statutes describe the circumstances and conditions that obligate mandated reporters to report known or suspected cases of abuse. They also provide definitions necessary for determination of child dependency in juvenile/family court. Criminal statutes specify the forms of maltreatment that are criminally punishable. The New York State definitions can be found at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/state/ .


Need to Report Cause of Death
line line If there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child died as a result of child abuse, report that fact to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner. This is required by New York Social Service Law ~ 418 (McKinney Supp. 1999).

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Reporting: Overview  Reporting: When to Report  Reporting: How to Make a Report  Reporting: Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information  Reporting: Liability  Reporting: Additional Resources 

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On this page:
Definitions of Abuse
Need to Report Cause of Death