Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting
If a child is being abused or is in danger right now, call 911 immediately.
Oregon community college employees are mandatory child abuse reporters.
This means all PCC employees are required to report suspected cases of child abuse under Oregon law. The duty to report suspected child abuse cases as a mandatory reporter is a 24-hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week responsibility. This legal duty is personal to you as a community college employee and applies whether or not you are on work time.
What are my responsibilities?
- You must immediately report suspected abuse to Department of Human Services (DHS) or local law enforcement, providing only names and observable facts that relate to the potential abuse (what you read, saw, or heard). If an employee or student is involved, remember that privacy rights may apply to individuals and that requests from DHS or law enforcement for additional information must be made through appropriate college channels – Public Safety, the Registrar or Human Resources.
- To report suspected abuse, use a dedicated child abuse county hotline (below) or contact the Department of Human Services at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
- If DHS or local law enforcement contacts you for any information about a student or employee, beyond observable facts related to the reported abuse, instruct them to contact either, Public Safety, the Registrar or Human Resources. Do not provide any additional information about the student or employee beyond what you have observed; this restriction only specifically applies to PCC employees or students (FERPA).
- If you believe child abuse occurred on PCC property or in conjunction with PCC activities, AFTER reporting to local law enforcement or the Department of Human Services, you must also report to PCC Public Safety.
- Report Title IX incidents: Title IX mandatory reporting requirements are different. If the observed abuse also implicates Title IX, you must submit a report to the Title IX Coordinator through the college’s Incident Reporting process. PCC is charged with investigating all reported gender-based and sexual misconduct concerns, offering support to the people involved and implementing measures to maximize safety.
Dedicated child abuse county hotlines
|County||Hotlines (local and toll free)||Hours available||After hours|
1-800-509-5439 toll free
|24/7||Calls are forwarded to Children’s Receiving Center Friday and Saturday nights|
1-800-275-8952 toll free
|Mon – Fri
|Calls are forwarded to Multnomah County hotline|
1-800-854-3508 toll free
|Mon – Fri
|Columbia||1-877-302-0077 toll free||Mon – Fri
1-800-628-7876 toll free
|Mon – Fri
|Calls are forwarded to Multnomah County hotline|
Questions and answers
What is a mandatory reporter?
As a community college employee you must report when you have “reasonable cause to believe” that any child (an unmarried person who is under 18 years of age) with whom you come in contact has suffered abuse or that any person with whom you come in contact has abused a child.
Who is a mandatory reporter?
“Public and private officials” (ORS 419B.005) are mandatory reporters. They include:
- School Employees (Effective January 1, 2013, employees of Oregon community colleges and universities are included in the law as mandatory reporters.)
- Certain State Agency/Commission Employees
- Peace Officers
- Firefighters and Emergency Medical Personnel
- Members of the Clergy
- Child Care Providers
- Psychologists/Professional Counselors/Therapists
- Social Workers
- Child Care or Foster Care Providers
Who is not a mandatory reporter?
Volunteers, contractors or students who are not employees are not mandatory reporters unless they are a mandatory reporter based on one of the categories listed above.
Who is a “child” under this law? Are community college students included?
A “child” is any “unmarried person who is under 18 years of age.” Yes, some community college students qualify under this definition and are covered by the mandatory reporting law.
How do I know if the person is under 18?
There is no way for you to be certain. The person may disclose their age to you before or after they disclosed the abuse.
What is “abuse” under the mandatory reporting law?
- Any assault, as defined in ORS 163, of a child and any physical injury to a child which has been caused by other than accidental means, including any injury which appears to be at variance with the explanation given of the injury;
- Any mental or emotional injury to a child, which shall include only observable and substantial impairment of the child’s mental or psychological ability to function caused by cruelty to the child, with due regard to the culture of the child;
- Rape of a child, includes but is not limited to rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration and incest;
- Sexual abuse;
- Sexual exploitation, including:
- Contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor
- Allowing, permitting, encouraging or hiring a child to engage in prostitution or to patronize a prostitute;
- Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child;
- Threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare;
- Buying or selling a person under 18 years of age;
- Permitting a person under 18 years of age to enter or remain in or upon premises where methamphetamines are being manufactured;
- Unlawful exposure to a controlled substance, as defined in ORS 475.005, or to the unlawful manufacturing of a cannabinoid extract, as defined in ORS 475B.015, that subjects a child to a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or safety.
Who do I contact if I suspect child abuse?
You must immediately report suspected abuse to Department of Human Services or local law Enforcement, providing only names and observable facts that relate to the potential abuse (what you read, saw, or heard). If an employee or student is involved, remember that privacy rights apply to individuals and that requests for additional information must be made through appropriate college channels – Public Safety, the Registrar or Human Resources. To report suspected abuse, use a Dedicated Child Abuse County Hotline or contact the Department of Human Services at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
Do I contact college personnel? Is it enough to tell my supervisor or Public Safety?
You must report to PCC Public Safety if you believe child abuse occurred on PCC property or in conjunction with PCC activities. However, this is not sufficient to satisfy your legal reporting duty. First you must immediately report to DHS or a law enforcement agency.
How do I respond to a child who reports abuse to me?
Tell the child that you believe them and that you are going to contact people who can help. Respect the privacy of the child. The child will need to tell their story in detail later, so don’t press the child for details. Remember, you need only suspect abuse to make a report. Don’t display horror, shock, or disapproval of parents, child, or the situation. Don’t place blame or make judgments about the parent or child. Believe the child if they report sexual abuse. It is rare for a child to lie about sexual abuse.
What information do I need to report?
Important: if the person(s) involved are PCC students or employees, provide only name(s) and observable facts that you heard, saw or read. Do not provide any information from PCC’s records. Please keep in mind your responsibilities under FERPA and Title IX, and contact the Registrar, Public Safety or Human Resources with any questions.
If the person(s) involved are not PCC students or employees, you should provide:
- Names and addresses of the child and parent;
- Child’s age;
- Type and extent of abuse;
- The explanation given for the abuse; and
- Any other information that will help to establish the cause of abuse or identify the abuser.
Do I have to prove that abuse occurred?
No. When you report you are asking DHS or law enforcement to make an assessment of the situation, but you must report any time that you have “reasonable cause” to believe a child was abused. If you have questions about whether or not to report, call a County Hotline.
Do I have to report if I suspect abuse outside of my normal work hours?
Yes. The duty to report is a 24-hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week responsibility, no matter where you are. This means that if you encounter suspected child abuse or an abuser when you are not at work, you still have a duty to report immediately to DHS or law enforcement.
What if I learn of abuse from a long time ago?
If you reasonably believe that another person with whom you come in contact abused a child in the past, your reporting obligation has no time limit and you are to contact DHS or law enforcement. Additionally, you are obligated to report when you have a reasonable suspicion that a “child” was abused in the past if they are still under 18 years old. For example, if a 16-year old discloses they were abused when they were five years old you must report. If a 30-year old discloses they were abused as a child you do not need to report. Your reporting obligation regarding abuse inflicted on a person is only triggered when the person whom you think may have been abused is still a “child” at the time and you have reasonable suspicion of abuse. While you are not obligated to report abuse disclosures by adults, you are still encouraged to provide information to DHS or law enforcement so as to avoid potential future harm by the accused against other persons who are “children” under the law.
Will my report be confidential?
The reporter’s identity will remain confidential to the full extent allowable by law. If court action is initiated, the reporting person may be called as a witness or the court may order that the reporter’s name be disclosed. Only people with firsthand knowledge of the child’s situation can provide testimony proving that abuse has occurred.
Can I be sued if I report?
Oregon law (ORS 419.025) provides that anyone participating in good faith in making a report of child abuse and who has reasonable grounds for making the report will have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might occur with respect to the making or content of such report.
What if I don’t report?
A mandatory reporter who fails to report child abuse is subject to prosecution of a Class A criminal violation of the law, which carries a maximum penalty of $2,000. Some mandatory reporters have also been sued for damages in civil court for failure to report.
What if I am concerned about a PCC student’s well-being?
First you must immediately report to DHS or a law enforcement agency when you have “reasonable cause to believe” that any child (an unmarried person who is under 18 years of age) with whom you come in contact has suffered abuse or that any person with whom you come in contact has abused a child. After you satisfy your legal reporting duty, if you have concerns about the student’s well-being, there are resources available. The college maintains a “Care” process to report concerns about well-being of a student. This process is in place to support our students and provide them with a variety of appropriate resources. Reports are reviewed by the college’s Student Conduct and Retention Coordinators, who are trained to assess and act on these reports through partnership with a support network. You should also make every effort to inform a student that you plan to submit a Care report in order to connect them with assistance.