This is a guide for mandated reporters and the information contained in this document is designed to assist those mandated by California Child Abuse Reporting Laws to determine their reporting responsibilities. It is not intended to be and should not be considered legal advice. In the event there are questions regarding reporting responsibilities in a specific case, the advice of legal counsel should be sought. This guide incorporates changes in the Child Abuse Reporting Law, effective January, 1998. For more detailed information refer to Penal Code Section 11164 & 11165.1 et al.
- Involuntary Sexual Activity is always reportable.
- Incest, even if voluntary is always reportable. Incest is a marriage or act of intercourse between parents and children; ancestors and descendants of every degree; brothers and sisters of half and whole blood and uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews. (Family Code, § 2200.)
- Voluntary Sexual Activity may or may not be reportable. Even if the behavior is voluntary, there are circumstances where the behavior is abusive, either by Penal Code definition or because of an exploitive relationship and this behavior must be reported. Review either section A, B or C and section D. In addition, if there is reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse prior to the consensual activity, the abuse must be reported.
A. Child younger than 14 years old
B. Child 14 or 15 years old
C. Child 16 or 17 years old
D. Child under the age of 18
Mandated reports of sexual activity must be reported to either The Department of Family & Children's Services (DFCS) or to the appropriate police jurisdiction. This information will then be cross-reported to the other agency. Reporting does not necessarily mean that a civil or criminal proceeding will be initiated against the suspected abuser.
Failure to report known or reasonable suspicion of child abuse, including sexual abuse, is a misdemeanor. Mandated reporters are provided immunity from civil or criminal liability as a result of making a mandated report of child abuse.
Child Abuse Council, Interagency Collaboration Committee (3/12/98). Reviewed and current as of 12/2014.
Adapted from Orange County Reporting Guidelines