Must a California Adult Who Knows of Child Sexual Abuse Report It?

Here's a sad hypothetical that unquestionably plays out in real life across California and elsewhere on a regular basis.

And it can be presented in just these few words: An adult who strongly suspects that another party is sexually abusing a child does not report it to authorities.

Is that knowing individual under a duty to promptly let relevant officials and law enforcers know that a vulnerable child is being violated in heinous ways?

Ethically, of course, there can be no debate on that. Only the most callous and unfeeling person could ever feel unmoved or lacking in motivation to immediately spotlight a predator and help a youthful victim.

What about legally, though? In California, for example, is mandatory reporting in force to address child sexual abuse?

Although not in a universal sense, it certainly is for many thousands of adults who occupy special positions and are in frequent contact with children. As we note on our victims' advocacy website at the Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D. (with offices spanning California), there is a lengthy list applicable to individuals having a duty-to-report requirement. Among other occupations, it centrally includes these positions:

  • Adults in the education field and otherwise school-connected (including teachers, aides, coaches, janitors and counselors)
  • Law-enforcement personnel
  • Health-care providers
  • Members of the clergy

Readers should note that any such list will be only partial and that, collectively, scores of thousands of California adults have a legal duty to promptly and accurately report abuse incidents to authorities.

And there is more: Failure to duly comply with that duty can expose a violator to civil and criminal penalties aimed at bringing justice to a victim and providing for maximum compensation from all responsible parties.

Individuals seeking information on mandatory reporting and any other matter relevant to identifying and stopping child sexual abuse can contact a proven child sexual abuse lawyer for immediate and aggressive legal representation.

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