As a type of domestic violence , cases involving child abuse often involve family members or others living within the home. To shed light on these cases and to protect the victim’s safety, mandatory reporting of child abuse is required by certain professionals who may be close to the situation or who come into contact with the child regularly.
Mandatory Reporting Under Georgia’s Child Abuse Laws
The Georgia Office of the Child Advocate offers training and support for those who fall under the state’s mandatory reporting requirements. Cases in which physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse and exploitation of a child is suspected must be reported to the authorities immediately by the following individuals:
- School administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and other school personnel;
- Physicians, interns, nurses, dentists, podiatrists, and any hospital staff;
- Child welfare and social workers, psychologists, clergy members, and other types of therapists;
- Reproductive health workers and pregnancy counseling center staff and volunteers;
- Police and other law enforcement personnel.
A report should be made either by phone or in writing to the Division of Family and Youth Services within 24 hours of the person becoming aware of the situation. The report should include the child’s name, address, their parents’ names, and the nature and extent of any injuries.
Mandatory reporting of child abuse is required even if the information was obtained during counseling that would otherwise be kept confidential. Failure to adhere to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by fines and a potential jail sentence.