Are Schools Required to Report Sexual Abuse in California?October 13, 2022
Schools are supposed to be a safe haven and second home for students. Sadly, these days, kids have to worry about bullies, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, shootings, and other terrifying incidents that should not happen in schools. Parents, guardians, teachers, or other responsible adults have a moral obligation to make sure that schools are supposed to be as safe as possible for the youth. This is why school personnel is required by law to report any incident of sexual abuse.
What is CANRA and Mandatory Reporting?
The California Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, simply known as CANRA, was passed in the 80s to provide specific procedures and definitions for mandated child abuse reporting guidelines. Its main purpose is to safeguard minors from neglect, abuse, and psychological harm.
CANRA provides definitions for mandated reporters, which are adults who have a legal duty to report reasonably suspected or identified child neglect or abuse. Specifically, mandated reporters are individuals whose duties or jobs bring them in close and regular contact with kids. These individuals include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Instructional aides or teacher’s assistants or
- Administrators or employees, including student employees, of youth recreation programs
- Athletic coaches, including assistant coaches and graduate assistants that coaches at private or public postsecondary institutions
- Postsecondary institution employees, such as supervisors of employees whose duties necessitate regular contact with minors
What Must Mandated Reporters Report?
Under CANRA, mandated reporters must report the following forms of child neglect and abuse:
- Any physical injury inflicted on the minor, excluding injuries from accidents and fights with other minors
- Sexual abuse, including sexual exploitation or assault of a minor
- Sexual exploitation, including depicting a minor in, or intentionally producing, printing, duplicating, downloading, streaming, or accessing through digital or electronic media, or distributing or exchanging a photo, film, video footage, slide, negative, or videotape in which a minor is engaging in sexual conduct
- Neglect, including the negligent treatment, maltreatment, or lack of treatment of a minor by an individual who is responsible for the minor’s welfare under situations suggesting harm or threatened harm
It is likewise crucial to note that under CANRA, the term reasonable suspicion means that it’s:
- Reasonable for an individual to entertain a strong suspicion of neglect
- Founded on facts that could make any reasonable individual in the same situation suspect neglect when drawing on their experience and training
In addition, if a mandated reporter has a reasonable suspicion that a minor is being or has been neglected or abused, even if the reporter cannot point to a specific medical or physical indication of neglect or abuse, their reasonable suspicion is enough to warrant a report.
Seek Legal Guidance From a Top CA Sexual Abuse Attorney Today
Mandated reports are lawfully obligated to report any suspected or known incident of sexual abuse and any kind of child abuse. If they fail to do so, they can be held civilly and criminally liable for the child’s injuries. If you have any questions or concerns about your case, don’t hesitate to contact the CA sexual abuse attorney of Bamieh & De Smeth. Arrange your free case review with our CA sexual abuse attorney by dialing 805-643-5555 or contacting us online.