Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting
Notice to PCC Employees
Beginning January 1, 2013 all Oregon community college employees will become mandatory child abuse reporters. This requirement passed by the 2012 Oregon Legislature as a part of HB 4016 adds community college and university employees to the list of public and private officials who 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.
Please note that the definition of child abuse was expanded this year to include exposure to the unlawful manufacturing of a cannabinoid extract. You are encouraged to review the updated definition of “abuse,” which can be found in the “What is “abuse” under the mandatory reporting
law?” section of the Frequently Asked Questions in this document.
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. You must immediately report the suspected abuse or abuser to local law enforcement or the Department of Human Services. See the Dedicated Child Abuse Hotlines listed by county below. Reports may also be made to the Department of Human Services at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
In addition, 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.
Additional information about your duty as a mandatory child abuse reporter can be found at:
DHS Video (view time approximately 25 min): www.oregon.gov/DHS/ABUSE/Pages/mandatory_report.aspx
DHS/Law Enforcement Contacts: www.oregon.gov/dhs/children/pages/abuse/cps/cw_branches.aspx
If a child is abused or is in danger right now, call 911 immediately.
To Report “Suspected” Child Abuse. Use a Dedicated Child Abuse County Hotline from below.
|Multnomah||503-731-3100 local / 1-800-509-5439 toll free||24/7||
Calls forwarded to Children’s Receiving Center Friday & Saturday nights
|Washington||503-681-6917 local / 1-800-275-8952 toll free||Mon – Fri from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.||
Calls forwarded to Multnomah County Dedicated Child Abuse Hotline
|Yamhill||503-378-6704 local / 1-800-854-3508 toll free||Mon – Fri from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.||911|
|Columbia||1-877-302-0077 toll free||Mon – Fri from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.||911|
|Clackamas||971-673-7112 local / 1-800-628-7876 toll free||Mon – Fri from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Calls forwarded to Multnomah County hotline|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- 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 in the definition of “child”?
- 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.
- 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, 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 to Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) or your local law enforcement if you have “reasonable cause to believe” that any child with whom you come into contact has suffered abuse, or that any person with whom you come into contact has abused a child. The law requires an “oral” report, so reports are typically made by phone. You may be asked for additional written information from the agency contacted. A law enforcement agency is a local police department, county sheriff, county juvenile department, or Oregon State Police. You do not need to report to both DHS and local law enforcement. A report to one agency will be communicated to the other.
- Do I contact any College personnel? Does notifying my supervisor or Public Safety satisfy my duty to report?
- 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 him/her 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?
- If possible, provide the following information:
- 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. 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 you have the reasonable suspicion of abuse. You are still encouraged, however, 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.