Docsplainin' -- it's what I do

Docsplainin'--it's what I do.
After all, I'm a doc, aren't I?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Georgia Child Abuse Reporting Law

Some of you who didn't used to be mandated reporters will be now, come July 1. Professionals like me have been required all along to make a report if we suspected abuse, but now just about anybody who comes into regular contact with kids in any organized fashion at any business, agency, or nonprofit is going to be covered. Parents helping out in the classroom, field trip chaperones, volunteers in Sunday Schools, soccer coaches, you name it, it's covered. So it would behoove you all to read the laws on what, exactly constitutes abuse.

While you're at it, pay careful attention to the wording of the law: You have 24 hours to report suspected abuse--which means if you think it might have happened, you have to report. It's not up to whether you believe the child, or think it might have been a one-time thing, or have no proof. It's not your job to investigate it, but  the State's. If the child asks you not to tell anybody, too bad. If you've been assured that it won't happen again, or hasn't happened in a long time, too bad.

It's very simple. If you suspect abuse, you must report.

If you don't, you can be charged with a misdemeanor which carries a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Three professionals have been convicted since the current law took effect in 2009. There probably aren't going to be a whole slew of new arrests and prosecutions, but there certainly will be many more reports--which the state is hardly ready to handle. As it is now, many reports go uninvestigated.


mamie said...

A perfect example of good motivation gone mad. Of course, we in NC are hardly in a position to comment on irrational laws right now, are we?

Virginia S. Wood, PsyD said...

Of course, the moral, ethical thing to do is for every adult to report child abuse when they see it, without having to be told. People being people, however. . .