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can-i-report-child-abuse-anonymously.jpg

I’m A Mandated Reporter. Can I Report Child Abuse Anonymously?

Individuals in certain professions are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect. These mandated reporters have a legal responsibility to report and must follow certain guidelines set in place by their state or territory when they do so. This includes, for many areas, identifying yourself when you make a report.

Some states require mandated reporters to identify themselves, but not all. Learn where your state or territory falls, and who will have your identifying information if you do give it.

Can Mandated Reporters Report Child Abuse Anonymously?

Do I Have to Include My Name When I Report?
Many states need to know the identity of the reporter for their investigations. These regions require that a mandated reporter give their name when making a report either at the time of the initial oral report or as part of a written report. This includes the following states and territories:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • The District of Columbia
  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • The Virgin Islands

If you work in any of the above areas, you are required to give your name when you report.

Additionally, the states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Washington allow child protection workers to request a reporter's name.

Who Will Learn My Name?
While the above areas do require that mandated reporters identify themselves, abuse and neglect records are confidential. All jurisdictions have provisions in place to ensure this confidentiality. Furthermore, the identity of the reporter is specifically protected from disclosure to the alleged perpetrator in 44 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

That said, some areas do allow for the release of the reporter's identity under specific circumstances or to select departments or officials, such as when that information is needed for an investigation.

Furthermore, some areas allow a reporter to waive confidentiality and give consent to the release of their name. These include:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Minnesota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • The District of Columbia
  • Guam

What if I Give My Name and My Employer Retaliates?
Most states prohibit employers from retaliating when their employees file a report of child abuse or neglect.

Twelve states expressly prohibit an employer from taking action to prevent or discourage a mandated reporter from filing a report:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee

Furthermore, seventeen states prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee who has made a report. Retaliation in this case refers to any employment action including demotion, reduction of pay or benefits, a negative evaluation, suspension, or termination. These states are:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Reporting child abuse is taken extremely seriously, and a mandated reporter may face penalties or fines for either failing to report or for false reporting. The importance of reporting and doing so accurately means that many states do not allow for anonymous reporting. The consequences of failing to report or doing so incorrectly make it extremely important to understand the requirements of mandated reporters in your state.

Find out where to take your mandated reporter training so you can ensure you’re prepared to do your duty to prevent child abuse.

Ready for Your Training