Failure to Report Child Abuse in Arizona
Child abuse, neglect, and child endangerment are elements of life that all of us wish weren’t ongoing problems. But what happens when you face allegations of charges for not reporting suspicion of child abuse? Arizona has strict laws about the protection of minors and who is required to report possible child endangerment, neglect, or abuse. It is possible that you’re a mandated reporter. However, it is unreasonable for any mandated reporter to not realize the extent of their requirements in reporting suspicions of abuse for endangerment.
What is an extraordinary challenge that people facing allegations a failing to report is showing that they did not have suspicions or had no reason to believe the abuse was taking place. Additionally, these charges in cases can garner quite a bit of public attention leading to further complications in daily life.
Technically under Arizona law, anyone who suspects child abuse must report it. But some professionals are mandated reporters, which means they can face serious consequences if they fail to report their suspicions. These people are referred to as mandated reporters.
Under Arizona law mandated reporters include doctors of all variety including behavioral health professionals, nurses, Social workers, child welfare investigators, any variety of clergy members regardless of religious affiliation, all school personnel, parents and guardians of a minor, and anyone else directly responsible for the care of the minor. This is an extensive list, and all the professionals listed here should be well aware of their position as a mandated reporter.
School professionals are a prime example, as all school professionals go through extensive training on their role as a mandated reporter. Physicians’ social workers and child welfare workers also go through extensive training regarding their role as a mandated reporter.
Are There Exceptions to Mandated Reporting?
There is one instance under Arizona law that gives a reasonable exception to a mandated reporter. Christian practitioners and priests who receive the information given during a confession May be able to withhold or postpone the reporting of the communication.
However, that exception only applies when there is no clear violation of the law. If it is evident to the priest or clergyperson that abuse or neglect is underway and clearly unlawful, then they must still report the crime. For example, a child acknowledging to a priest that their disciplined at home is very different than a child reporting to a priest that little parent takes regular violent action against them that does not qualify as widely accepted discipline practices.
What to Do When You’re Up Against Charges for Knowingly Filing to Report?
Failure to report child abuse can range in charges and penalties based upon the severity of the identified abuse. For example, the simple act of not recording is typically a class one misdemeanor. However, failing to report serious abuse or resulted in serious injury or death can result in a class six felony. Often the best course of defense is to show that you genuinely had no reason to suspect abuse.