Pennsylvania and New Jersey Law
Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Sex Abuse
N.J. Stat. Ann. 9:6-8:10: Required Reporting
New Jersey has one of the most expansive child abuse reporting laws in the country. Under the statute, N.J. Stat. Ann. 9:6-8:10, any person who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse must report that abuse. The punishment for violation is up to 6 months incarceration and/or a $1000 fine.
*In 2014, the Pennsylvania legislature amended PA’s child sexual abuse reporting law in response to high profile sexual abuse cases in Pennsylvania. Below you can find the newly amended law, Section 6311.
The statute provided below is current as of February 9, 2015. For the prior version of the law, please click here.
23 Pa. C.S. 6311 Persons required to report suspected child abuse (Amended, Effective December 31, 2014)
(a) Mandated reporters.–The following adults shall make a report of suspected child abuse, subject to subsection (b), if the person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse:
(1) A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State.
(2) A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director.
(3) An employee of a health care facility or provider licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals.
(4) A school employee.
(5) An employee of a child-care service who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
(6) A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization.
(7) An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child.
(8) An employee of a social services agency who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
(9) A peace officer or law enforcement official.
(10) An emergency medical services provider certified by the Department of Health.
(11) An employee of a public library who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
(12) An individual supervised or managed by a person listed under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10) and (11), who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
(13) An independent contractor.
(14) An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, organization or other entity, including a school or regularly established religious organization that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children.
(15) A foster parent.
(b) Basis to report.–
(1) A mandated reporter enumerated in subsection (a) shall make a report of suspected child abuse in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting procedure), if the mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:
(i) The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service.
(ii) The mandated reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child.
(iii) A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse.
(iv) An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.
(2) Nothing in this section shall require a child to come before the mandated reporter in order for the mandated reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse.
(3) Nothing in this section shall require the mandated reporter to identify the person responsible for the child abuse to make a report of suspected child abuse.
(c) Staff members of institutions, etc.–Whenever a person is required to report under subsection (b) in the capacity as a member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility or agency, that person shall report immediately in accordance with section 6313 and shall immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge. Upon notification, the person in charge or the designated agent, if any, shall facilitate the cooperation of the institution, school, facility or agency with the investigation of the report. Any intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in the investigation of the report is subject to the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4958 (relating to intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse cases). This chapter does not require more than one report from any such institution, school, facility or agency.
(d) Civil action for discrimination against person filing report.–(Deleted by amendment).
- Pennsylvania Crime Victims Act – Victims’ Bill of Rights in Criminal Cases [Learn about the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Act. What are victims’ rights in criminal cases?]
- Filing a Civil Sex Assault-Abuse Lawsuit in PA or NJ – Time is of the Essence [Why is time so important in civil sex assault and abuse cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey?
- Evidence of Sexual Abuse & Assault in Civil Sex Abuse Lawsuits [Will your civil sex abuse lawsuit be successful? It depends on the strength of the evidence.]
Last updated: February 9, 2015