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Custody, domestic violence

I Suspect Child Abuse, So Do I Have to Report It?

English: Join the movement to end child abuse:...

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The media is in a frenzy reporting on Sandusky and Fine’s alleged crimes against young boys. Questions are being asked about what is being done to protect children involved in sports. And now CNN is reporting that, “The Memphis police and the Amateur Athletic Union have launched an investigation [into Bobby Dodd] after two players alleged that the leader of a local youth sports organization molested them decades ago.” It seems that everyone is talking about suspected child abuse, sexual abuse, and molestation of children. But it is still very unclear to most people whether they have any obligation to report suspected abuse and if they do, what is the obligation, and where are you supposed to report the abuse.

With all the buzz about child abuse, do you know what you have to do if you suspect child abuse? 

In North Carolina, you generally do not have to report a crime. However every North Carolina citizen has a duty to report in cases where there is suspected:

Child abuse and/or neglect by a parent, guardian, custodian or caretaker.

Abuse, neglect or exploitation of a disabled or elder adult by their caretaker.

Physicians and Hospitals must report to law enforcement certain kinds of wounds, injuries or illnesses.

School Principals must report immediately to law enforcement when he or she has personal or actual knowledge that an act has occurred on school property involving certain offenses.

Photo processors or computer technicians who, within the scope of their employment, come across images of a minor (or one who reasonably appears to be a minor) engaging in sexual activity.

What will happen if I don’t report it? 

In N.C. there is no criminal or civil penalty for not reporting suspected child abuse. However, it is possible that if you have information about abuse and you don’t report it you could be sued in civil court.

Where should I report suspected abuse? 

You should report suspected child or elder abuse to the local Department of Social Services.

Do I have to give my name? 

If you make a suspected child abuse report either orally or by telephone, you are supposed to include your name, address, and telephone number. If you choose to be anonymous, a the department considers it an obstruction to the department’s ability to seek more information and you give up your right to receive notification about the outcome of the investigation.

Applicable Laws

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-301

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 108A-2

N.C. Gen Stat. § 90-21.20 – Injuries caused by weapons (guns in every case, knives and sharp objects in suspected criminal cases), poisoning (in every case) and grave bodily harm or illness (due to suspected criminal violence).

N.C. Gen Stat. § 115C-288(g) – Offenses include assault, sexual assault, rape, kidnapping, indecent liberties with a minor, assault involving use of a weapon, possession of a firearm or weapon in violation of the law, possession of a controlled substance in violation of the law).

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 66-67.4 – The name and address of the person requesting services shall be reported to the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children or to the proper law enforcement agency.


About McIlveen Family Law Firm

The McIlveen Family Law Firm handles all types of divorce and family law cases.


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