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Mandatory Reporting in Child Abuse Cases

December 2nd, 2014 at 10:37 am

spanking, Illinois child abuse laws, Illinois criminal defense attorney,In areas of criminal law dealing with children, some punishments are particularly harsh when the law is violated. Such is the case with matters involving child abuse allegations. Not only does the perpetrator face potentially serious criminal charges, but additional laws also act to place responsibility on other adults in the child’s life who may have had a reason to believe the abuse was happening. In light of some recent event happening in a local county, a recent news article was published by the Chicago Tribune to help explain the Illinois law regarding mandated reporting.

Reporting Child Abuse

There is a criminal case pending in a local Chicago-area county involving allegations against teachers who reportedly failed to report suspected child abuse. The criminal case is ongoing. The relevant law in the case is the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, which is rarely used in the state but has been active for almost 40 years. The Act includes a section defining those who are considered mandated reporters, and teachers are included in the law’s definition. According to its terms, mandated reporters have an obligation to contact law enforcement officials if they have reasonable cause to believe a child is the victim of abuse.

Consequences of Violation

Violation of this law can result in either criminal charges or civil suits being filed against an individual who fails to report suspected abuse. Those who have experience with the law say that criminal charges are much less likely to result from such failure to report than a civil lawsuit is to be filed in court. The most serious criminal charges that can be filed as a result of a mandated reporter failing to contact police would generally involve an allegation that the defendant knowingly and willfully failed to report suspected abuse. Such a charge is graded as a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum one-year jail term, plus possible probation and fines.

Law Specifics

Although the law has been in effect in Illinois for almost 40 years, it has been changed in the more recent past. For example, in 2002, the law was amended so that clergy members were included within the definition of mandated reporters. In all, seven job categories are included in the definition of mandated reporters, including medical, educational, social service and mental health, law enforcement, coroner and medical examiner, child care workers, and clergy. Employment in these areas usually involves signing a statement of acknowledgement of the mandated reporting status. Teachers are now even required to complete mandated reporting training.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact the experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation.

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