Reporting abuse - page 2

Hi all... I know as a health care profesional that I'm requirered by law to report suspected abuse. But my question is, what if the situation is regarding a friends family? Am I still required by... Read More

  1. by   Medic/Nurse
    Yes, you have a "mandate" to report.

    Check with VA BON's edict, err....state law.

    Very clear.

    Good Luck.
  2. by   aka_steven
    i looked it up, (duh, i probably should've just done that first)
    it's virginia code 63.2-1509 for anyone else whos interested. but apparently its a federal thing & all 50 states follow the same code, the # just varies per state.
    state statutes series: mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect

    "
    duty to report
    all states, the district of columbia, the commonwealth of puerto rico, and the u.s. territories of american samoa, guam, the northern mariana islands, and the virgin islands have statutes identifying mandatory reporters of child maltreatment. a mandatory reporter is a person who is required by law to make a report of child maltreatment under specific circumstances. approximately 48 states, the district of columbia, puerto rico, and the territories have designated individuals, typically by professional group, who are mandated by law to report child maltreatment.[color=#660066]1 individuals typically designated as mandatory reporters have frequent contact with children. such individuals may include:
    • social workers
    • school personnel
    • health care workers
    • mental health professionals
    • childcare providers
    • medical examiners or coroners
    • law enforcement officers "
    Last edit by aka_steven on Nov 28, '06
  3. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from rswilson
    i looked it up, (duh, i probably should've just done that first)
    it's virginia code 63.2-1509 for anyone else whos interested. but apparently its a federal thing & all 50 states follow the same code, the # just varies per state.
    state statutes series: mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect

    "
    duty to report
    all states, the district of columbia, the commonwealth of puerto rico, and the u.s. territories of american samoa, guam, the northern mariana islands, and the virgin islands have statutes identifying mandatory reporters of child maltreatment. a mandatory reporter is a person who is required by law to make a report of child maltreatment under specific circumstances. approximately 48 states, the district of columbia, puerto rico, and the territories have designated individuals, typically by professional group, who are mandated by law to report child maltreatment.[color=#660066]1 individuals typically designated as mandatory reporters have frequent contact with children. such individuals may include:
    • social workers
    • school personnel
    • health care workers
    • mental health professionals
    • childcare providers
    • medical examiners or coroners
    • law enforcement officers "
    that doesn't seem very clear. it lists professions, but the statute doesn't say anything about level of obligation if you see a child that is a victim of abuse outside your scope of practice. i'm not questioning it from the standpoint that if you see it, you shouldn't report it..but let's say you are not sure?

    i know that law enforcement officers, are legally, 24/7 employees. it's not that they "feel" they are 24/7...the law says they are 24/7.

    same for physicians, medical examiners, and coroners...they are all doctors.

    i wonder if it is the same for nurses?
  4. by   aka_steven
    It's clear enough, I'm not gonna leave it to chance.
  5. by   buildingmyfaith57
    do everything you can report it.
  6. by   rn/writer
    Both kids need help. Even if you lose the friendship of the parents, at least you will have been a friend to the children involved.

    No parent likes to think their child could be capable of something like this. And then there's the question of having to feel like you need to betray one kid to help the other. Of course, getting help for the offender is NOT a betrayal but it certainly could feel like that for some time to come. Reporting this actually rescues not only the kids, but the parents from the paralysis that comes from being pulled in two directions. Sometimes it isn't so much that parents won't deal with a problem. It's more that they're stuck and they need the kind of intervention a true friend would provide.

    The sooner the girl gets help, the less chance there is that she will have long lasting damage. In many cases, it isn't the touching that does the most damage. It's not being taken seriously and provided with safety and help. Ihope she gets good counseling and is given repeated reassurances that she didn't cause this problem. Any family fallout is not her fault.

    Here's another consideration. It is far better that this information come out now while the boy is only 13. It varies from state to state but once a certain line is crossed--it can be as young as 14--the focus changes from treatment to punishment and he can have legal consequences that will last a lifetime for him and for the rest of the family.

    You and your wife are doing the right thing.
  7. by   Valanda
    I'm not sure about Virginia, but in Illinois you are mandated to report regardless of whether it was a patient/client relationship or not.
    When my sister's children were removed from her home due to neglect, the DCFS worker questioned me about the children's care and was frequently threatening me with loss of my license during the interrogation.
    My sister lived 40 miles away and we hadn't talked in 7 years, but the worker had a hard time believing that and insisted that i should have seen/reported something!
    Even if it was just family gossip.
    Last edit by Valanda on Nov 28, '06
  8. by   bookworm1
    State laws may vary, but in Illinois, a mandated reporter is just that... If someone can prove you had awareness of the 'alleged' crime and did not report it, you will risk jail time, loss of license, and any chance of ever working with children again. As a former foster parent, we were made very aware of our obligations as well as the obligations of other mandated reporters. It does not matter if it is a professional or personal relationship.
    Besides, think of the children. One sexual abuse encounter will damage a child for life.
    Good luck.
  9. by   BSNtobe2009
    I think some folks are misreading my post. I wasn't saying to use it as a crutch not to report someone. I'm saying that anyone can err in judgement, one person may think evidence of abuse is clear and another may not be convinced...in THOSE cases, what I was curious about, can a nurse lose their license for that if they come into contact with a child through a non-work related setting.

    For example, if I were an ER nurse and some kid came in with a broken arm and odd bruising, and the parents acting funny and can't adequately explain what happeend, to me, that is enough to raise suspicion, but do you call DSS and turn their entire lives upside down because of that?

    Now, if that same kid came into the ER again, a couple of weeks later or all of the sudden broke another arm, or leg, or rib...I would probably be asking some serious questions and calling DSS because that seems out of the scope of normal.

    Sexual abuse is also similar. When I was young, my mother thought I was being molested b/c of inappropriate pictures I was drawing and doll play I was engaging it....where would I learn such a thing if I wasn't being abused by someone? What took her awhile to find out (and I can't remember the details) is one of my playmates' father used to leave porno's in their VCR, and my playmate would turn them on if her Dad was outside and we were in the house alone.

    I just don't think someone should lose their license over interpretation of events.
  10. by   scribblerpnp
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    I think some folks are misreading my post. I wasn't saying to use it as a crutch not to report someone. I'm saying that anyone can err in judgement, one person may think evidence of abuse is clear and another may not be convinced...in THOSE cases, what I was curious about, can a nurse lose their license for that if they come into contact with a child through a non-work related setting.

    For example, if I were an ER nurse and some kid came in with a broken arm and odd bruising, and the parents acting funny and can't adequately explain what happeend, to me, that is enough to raise suspicion, but do you call DSS and turn their entire lives upside down because of that?

    I just don't think someone should lose their license over interpretation of events.
    According to most laws, if you EVEN SUSPECT abuse, you MUST notify. CPS is loaded with people who qualify to interpret evens. As nurses, I don't think we are adequately trained about the abuse issue. There are special certifications a person can get, but they aren't required. And a lot of states don't require abuse CEU's.

    And for your ER kid with bruising, there is enough info there to call and report. I've called and reported for: a) 7-year-old's report, b) suspicious bruising and the child denies, c) parents who had their child d/c'd, but didn't come and get him by midnight (hospital policy), and lots of other things you may not deem large enough to report. The thing is, if it comes down to "Is there a CHANCE that it is abuse?" If the answer is yes, you report. Yes, you will report things that may not end up being abuse at all, but there will be times you aren't convinced it is abuse, and it turns out it is. That makes up for the "mistakes."

    CPS is not a big, bad place that will immediately take the child away and put the parents in a tailwind. In the majority of cases, they work WITH the parents, not against them and will help the parents get referrals to aid them in the care of their child.
  11. by   clee1
    Quote from scribblerrn
    CPS is not a big, bad place that will immediately take the child away and put the parents in a tailwind. In the majority of cases, they work WITH the parents, not against them and will help the parents get referrals to aid them in the care of their child.

    Sorry, friend, but I have to disagree.

    CPS is a governmental organization (which means even if they do anything at all, they do it poorly, inefficiently, and expensively). They are staffed with bureaucrats whose existance is justfied by looking for fire - even if there is no smoke. Even when they find clear abuse, often they will leave the child in the situation with disasterous results.

    Secondly, even if totally innocent, the family under scrutiny by CPS is subjected to endless invasions of their privacy, needless evaluations, drug testing, etc. etc. etc. And worst of all, all that is necessary to launch such a witch-hunt is an ANONYMOUS report.

    My policy is - if I have a reasonable suspicion (not just "any" suspicion) I'll report, mandated or not. However, if CPS ever comes to MY door, they'll be told to leave and not come back w/o a warrant and the SWAT team.

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