Child Abuse and Neglect
REPORTING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
WHO MUST REPORT?
Anyone may report suspected child abuse or neglect. Under West Virginia Law (WV Code 49-6A-2) certain persons are required to report. These persons include:
- medical, dental or mental health professionals
- Christian Science practitioners
- religious healers
- school teachers or other school personnel
- social service workers
- child care or foster care workers
- emergency medical services personnel
- peace officers or law-enforcement officials
- members of the clergy
- circuit court judges, family court judges or magistrates
- humane officers
- employees of the division of juvenile services
- youth camp administrator or counselor
- employee, coach or volunteer of an entity that provides organized activities for children
- commercial film or photographic print processor
Additionally, West Virginia Law (WV Code 49-6A-2) mandates that any person over the age of eighteen who receives a disclosure from a credible witness or observes any sexual abuse or sexual assault of a child, shall immediately and not more than forty eight hours, report the circumstances or cause a report to be made to the Department and the State Police or other law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the report. If the reporter feels that reporting the alleged sexual abuse will expose themselves, the child, the reporter’s children or other children in the subjects household to an increased threat of serious bodily injury, the individual may delay making the report while he or she undertakes measures to remove themselves or the affected children from the perceived threat of additional harm. The individual must make the report as soon as practical after the threat of harm has been reduced. The law enforcement agency that receives a report regarding sexual abuse must report the allegations to the Department.
West Virginia Law also mandates that in any case where a mandated reporter believes that the child suffered serious physical abuse, the reporter shall also immediately report, or cause a report to be made, to the State Police and any law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the complaint
WHY SHOULD I REPORT?
The purpose of required reporting is to identify suspected abused and neglected children as soon as possible so that they may be protected from further harm. Child Protective Services cannot act until a report is made.
AM I PROTECTED IF I REPORT?
West Virginia law provides immunity from civil or criminal liability for persons reporting in good faith (WV Code 49-6A-6 )
HOW DO I REPORT?
Reports can be made to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-800-352-6513) 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. You may also report alleged sexual abuse or sexual assault, or serious physical abuse to your local law enforcement agency by calling 911.