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After I report

Reporters’ Concerns about Reporting

Reporters are sometimes reluctant to report abuse or neglect for a number of reasons. Here are some typical concerns of reporters with some clarifications.

Not enough information:

Many potential reporters are concerned that they do not have enough information to know for certain if a child was abused or neglected. Always remember: You are responsible for reporting; OCS and/or law enforcement are responsible for investigating. Investigating abuse and neglect is the responsibility of the Office of Children's Services and the law enforcement agency in your area. You need only have a reason to suspect that abuse or neglect has occurred to report.

No follow up:

Reporters wonder if there will be any follow up or if their report makes a difference. While it is true that OCS needs to determine if a report meets criteria before it is assigned for follow up, all reports are documented. This documented information is often very valuable when another person makes a report either at the same time or later on. With multiple reports the intake worker has more of a chance to put the pieces of a puzzle together and intervene if necessary. Please don’t be discouraged from reporting even if you feel that in the past OCS has not responded the way you hoped. Every report makes a difference, and all reports help OCS gather important information.

Liability:

If you make a good faith report, you cannot be held liable for any damages or charged with any crime for reporting.

False reports:

A false report is a report that is intentionally dishonest or is not made “in good faith.” A report that is made out of genuine concern for a child’s safety is not considered a false report, even if the facts gathered during the assessment don’t confirm that the child was neglected or abused. OCS has no authority to take action when false reporting is suspected. Instead, false reports are sent to law enforcement or the State’s Attorney. A person who intentionally makes a false report may be liable in a civil action.

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