NEW LAW ALERT
As of October 1, 2019, there are now criminal penalties for a mandatory reporter who knowingly fails to report child abuse. Criminal penalties can include up to 3 year misdemeanor and up to $10,000.
Read the new law here. https://govt.westlaw.com/mdc/Document/N5AD3BE909E1C11E984C6B72F156B0EC8?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)
Am I a Mandated Reporter?
You are likely a mandated reporter if you work in a child-friendly or child-serving field. Maryland law defines this category of professionals broadly, and includes:
- health practitioners
- police officers
- human service workers
What Information Do I Need to Make a Report?
The information needed to make a report includes:
- The child's name, age, and home address
- Name and contact information for the child's parent or caregiver
- Current location of the child
- Nature and extent of abuse (collect only minimal facts from the child, such as who the child identifies as the perpetrator and the type of abuse alleged)
I'm a Mandated Reporter. What Do I Need to Do to Make a Report?
Here are the steps to follow:
- Collect the information necessary to make a report.
- Call your local child protective services office or local law enforcement agency to make an oral report.
- If you work at a hospital, public health agency, child care institution, juvenile detention center, school or similar institution you must also immediately notify the head of the institution or their designee. NOTE: Internal reporting to the head of an institution does NOT replace a person’s mandatory duty to report the abuse to local departments and law enforcement. These laws supersede any policy of an agency.
- Submit a written report (form DHR/SSA 180) to the local department of social services within 48 hours.
I'm Afraid to Make a Report. What if I am wrong?
It's OK to be wrong. If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse or neglect but are afraid you are wrong, consider the following facts about reporting:
- You can report confidentially and anonymously
- Reporting gives children a voice
- Reporting allows children to get help, even if the allegations are not substantiated
- If a report is not made, an investigation will not be conducted and the child will not receive services
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Child Maltreatment on the Child?
Child victims of abuse and neglect face a lifetime of negative consequences, unless they receive an intervention and treatment. Decades of research clearly indicate children who suffer the trauma of abuse and maltreatment are at an increased risk of suffering from a multitude of devastating short-term and life-long consequences. These children are more likely to develop behavioral problems, have trouble in school, engage in substance abuse, become repeat victims and become perpetrators of violent criminal behavior as adults:
- Victims of child maltreatment average 47% higher delinquency rates relative to children not indicated for abuse or neglect, and 59% higher adult arrest rates.
- Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime;
- Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy;
- As many as two‐thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse report being abused or neglected as children; and
- About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children.
What Does the Research Say About Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse is prevalent, underreported, and occurs across all socioeconomic, racial and geographic lines:
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old,
- Only 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually abused and  , of these, 40% tell a close friend, rather than an adult or authority,
- 90% of victims know their abuser and 30% are abused by family members.
1 in 5 of 11,800 runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2015 were likely sex trafficking victims.
Child Sex Trafficking is Child Abuse
- Individuals under the age of 18 who are objectified and caused to engage in commercial sex acts at the hands of another individual are considered victims of sex trafficking under Maryland law even when force, fraud or coercion are not used.
- Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is defined as, “sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons...and includes prostitution of children, child pornography, child sex tourism, and other forms of transactional sex.”