Virginia Introduces Bill to Make Clergy Members Mandated Reporters For Sex Abuse
There is little else as important as the safety, health, and wellbeing of our children. In an effort to protect our children, every state in the country has a statute that outlines who is required to make a report when they suspect or become aware that child abuse or neglect has taken place—they are referred to as “mandated reporters.” However, each state’s laws are different.
Most states require those who work directly with children, like teachers and doctors, to report any suspected abuse, but only 50% of states include clergy members in that category. Legislators in Virginia, however, are seeking to change the laws in their state in order to add members of clergy to their list of mandated reporters.
Nearly every state has laws on the books that require any citizen who learns of a crime against a child to report it, but if a person who is designated a mandated reporter fails to report, he or she can be charged with a crime. A mandated reporter would be breaking the law if he failed to report any suspected child abuse or neglect. If a citizen fails to make a report, there is very little legal recourse that can be taken against them because they do not have the designation of a “mandated reporter.”
Clergy Members as Mandated Reporters
Twenty-eight states and Guam include members of the clergy as mandated reporters, but Virginia is not one of them.
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