HRM-047: Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Date: 05/06/2016 Status: Final
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Applies To: Academic Division.
Reason for Policy:

In order to comply with the Code of Virginia §63.2-1509, the University has established requirements for those individuals required to report instances of suspected child abuse and neglect to the local Social Services Department or to the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Abused or Neglected Child:

    As defined in the Code of Virginia §63.2-100, any child under 18 years of age whose parent or any person responsible for his or her care:

    • Causes or threatens to cause a non-accidental physical or mental injury;
    • Creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement or impairment of bodily or mental functions;
    • Has a child present during the manufacture of a controlled substance or during the unlawful sale of such substance where such activity would constitute a felony violation;
    • Neglects or refuses to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional nurturing, or health care;
    • Abandons the child;
    • Neglects or refuses to provide adequate supervision in relation to a child’s age and level of development;
    • Knowingly leaves a child alone in the same dwelling with a person, not related by blood or marriage, who has been convicted of an offense against a minor for which registration is required as a violent sexual offender; or
    • Commits or allows to be committed any illegal sexual act upon a child, including incest, rape, indecent exposure, prostitution, or allows a child to be used in any sexually explicit visual material.
  • Mandated Reporters:

    Those persons who, in their professional or official capacity, are required to report instances of suspected child abuse and neglect to Social Services.

Policy Statement:

The Code of Virginia §63.2-1509 has included “any person employed by a public or private institution of higher education” on the list of “mandated reporters.” The Code requires that “any person employed by a public or private institution of higher education” who, in their professional or official capacity, has reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child, must report instances of suspected child abuse and neglect to the local Social Services Department or to the Department of Social Services (DSS) toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline 1-800-552-7096.  This refers to any University employee, who, in the course of their employment, has reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child.

[Note: All persons, regardless of employer, providing patient care or other services within or for the benefit of the Medical Center shall follow UVA Medical Center Policy No. 0213 Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation of Patients.]

  1. Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect:
    University faculty and staff must call DSS or the hotline whenever they believe that a person who is caring for a child, who lives with a child, or who works with and around children has caused injury or harm or put the child at risk of physical injury as defined in the Code of Virginia. Some examples include:

    • If you see someone hitting a child with an object.
    • If you see marks on a child’s body that do not appear to have been caused by an accident.
    • If a child tells you that he or she has been harmed by someone.
    • If a child appears to have been left alone, dressed inappropriately for the weather, or appears to be undernourished.

    Any University faculty or staff member who, in their official or professional capacity, has reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child, is required to report the matter as soon as possible, but not longer than 24 hours after having reason to suspect a reportable offense of child abuse or neglect.

    Faculty and staff members can report by:

    • Contacting the local office of the Department of Social Services (in Charlottesville, the Albemarle County Department of Social Services 434-972-4010).
    • Contacting the Department of Social Service’s state-wide toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline (1-800-552-7096).

    Faculty and staff members can notify University Police (924-7166), their supervisor or other University administrators in addition to reporting to one of the organizations noted above.

  2. Affording Legal Protection to University Faculty and Staff Making Reports:
    Any person making a report or providing records or information pursuant to §63.2-1509, or who testifies in any judicial proceeding arising from such reports or information, is immune from civil or criminal liability, unless such person acts in bad faith or with malicious purpose.

  3. Failing to Make a Required Report:
    Any person required to make a report and who fails to do so as soon as possible, but not longer than 24 hours after having reason to suspect a reportable offense of child abuse or neglect, may be fined not more than $500 for the first failure, and not less than $1000 for subsequent failures. Persons who knowingly and intentionally fail to make reports in cases involving rape, sodomy, or object sexual penetration, may be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Additionally, the individual may be subject to University disciplinary actions for failure to comply with this policy.

**No person is required to make a report if the person has actual knowledge that the same matter has already been reported to the local department or to the Department of Social Services’ child abuse and neglect hotline.

Procedures:

Questions about child abuse or neglect reporting? Contact University Human Resources HR Service Center at 982-0123 or AskHR@virginia.edu.

Related Information:

Other materials available to assist University employees in understanding their legal obligations to report child abuse or neglect include:

Major Category: Human Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review: 05/06/2019
Approved by, Date: Policy Review Committee, 05/06/2016
Supersedes (previous policy):
Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting