On May 25, 2012, new laws on the reporting of child abuse were signed by the Governor of Louisiana. Here’s how they affect you.
For Mandatory Reporters
In regards to the existing mandatory reporting laws, they have been expanded to include: bus drivers, coaches, professors, technical or vocational instructors/staff members, college and university administrators/staff members, as well as organizational or youth activity providers. The failure of mandatory reporters to report suspected sexual abuse or harsh physical abuse may lead to felony charges, imprisonment for up to 3 years, and/or fines up to $3,000. In addition, the new laws now hold mandatory reporters responsible for reporting at all times, not just while one is performing professional duties.
For the General Public
The new laws also stipulate that any individual aged 18 or older that witnesses an act of child sexual abuse and fails to report it immediately may be charged with a felony, imprisoned for 5 years, and/or fined up to $10,000. In all of these laws, the demand for immediate reporting is being taken very seriously by law enforcement officials. Quite recently, a principal in Louisiana was arrested for failing to report an incident of sex between two students until the next day.
Familiarize Yourself with Your New Responsibilities
For many individuals, these changes serve as an opportunity to understand both new and existing responsibilities. Failure to comply with these laws can have severe consequences for both yourself and the children around you; therefore, it is your duty to be informed on the issues and the laws. Please take the time to look over the following charts for more information on who is defined as a mandatory reporter and how you can safely execute your new duties.
Who are Mandated Reporters?
As of may 25, 2012, the new laws outlined in Act No. 268 apply at all times, not just while perfoming professional duties.