Close Window

Civil Liability for Public Schools Under Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Over the last several years, all 50 states have passed laws that require certain people to report allegations of child sexual abuse to appropriate authorities. In Pennsylvania, for example, any person who comes into contact with children in the course of their employment must report to the Department of Public Welfare when they suspect child sexual abuse has occurred. With some variation, the same rule applies in every state. Forty-nine states require teachers to report suspected instances of child abuse.

Child sexual abuse reporting laws can also serve as the basis for civil liability. Seven states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, New York, and Rhode Island, have passed laws that specifically provide that a mandated child abuse reporter, like a teacher, may be held civilly liable for damages caused by the failure to report sexual abuse. Other states also allow sexual abuse victims to recover damages for failures to report abuse, although they have not codified that right by law. In 1976, for instance, a California judge ruled that a doctor's failure to report child abuse in violation of California's mandatory reporting law could serve as the basis for a lawsuit for abuse, despite the fact the law itself did not provide a private cause of action. A powerful argument can be made that the California court's reasoning should apply to lawsuits against schools and teachers for failure to report abuse.

Andreozzi & Associates represents survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault across the country, and has experience with mandatory reporting laws. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to sexual abuse, sexual assault, or another crime, do not hesitate to call our office. We do not charge for phone consultations, and will do everything we can to help.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Get In Touch

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Our Locations

Harrisburg Office
111 N Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: 717-686-9936
Fax: 717-525-9143
Harrisburg Law Office Map

West Coast Office
7150 East Camelback Road
Suite 444
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Map & Directions

We Will Travel To Our Clients In Any State In The U.S.

National Location Information

*Our Attorneys are Licensed in PA and AZ, Affiliated with Local Counsel Across the Country.