- Register Programs
- Report Abuse
01. Who is a mandatory reporter?
03. Is there a “research exemption” under this law?
04. Who is a “child” under the law? Are OSU students included in the definition of a “child” for the purpose of complying with mandatory reporting requirements?
05. What is “abuse” under the mandatory reporting law?
06. What about various forms of discipline, such as spanking?
07. Who do I contact if I suspect or learn of child abuse?
08. What information do I need to report?
09. Do I have to prove that abuse occurred?
10. What if I learn of abuse from a long time ago?
11. What if I learn of abuse through a student's written work or an applicant essay?
12. How do I respond to a child who reports abuse to me?
13. As a mandatory reporter, do my reporting obligations under the law end when I am not working or I am not “on-the-job”?
14. Will my report be confidential?
15. Can I be sued for making a report?
16. What happens if I don’t report?
All “public or private officials,” including employees of Oregon State University, are mandatory reporters. Under state law, the following types of individuals are included:
For a complete list of public or private officials, refer to Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 419B.005 (6)
Separate from any legal duty, non-employees and volunteers acting as program personnel or support personnel in a university youth program are required by OSU policy to report reasonably suspected child abuse and neglect discovered while performing duties related to the program.
So, while they are not considered "mandatory reporters" under Oregon law, volunteers are obligated by OSU policy to report.
No. OSU employees are still expected to make a report, even if a researcher learns of suspected child abuse or neglect while conducting human subject research involving children.
In certain limited cases of anticipated research, OSU may proactively seek agreement from the relevant District Attorney not to prosecute researchers for failure to report. Talk to your department head and the OSU Research Office Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator, who can work with your Dean, the Vice President for Research, and the Office of General Counsel in these efforts. It is unclear how successful these attempts will be, especially in cases involving children in multiple counties across the state.
If you have questions related to IRB-approved research and mandatory reporting, including how to inform research subjects of your reporting obligations, contact the IRB Administrator in the OSU Research Office.
Per ORS 419B.005 (2), a child is any “unmarried person who is under 18 years of age.” Some OSU students qualify under this definition and are covered by the mandatory reporting law.
The law exempts from the definition of “abuse” any “reasonable discipline” unless the discipline results in one of the conditions described in question 5.
You must immediately report to the State of Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) or law enforcement if you have “reasonable cause to believe” that any child with whom you come into contact has suffered abuse, or that any person with whom you come into contact has abused a child. A law enforcement agency is a local police department, county sheriff, county juvenile department, or Oregon State Police. If you believe someone is being hurt or is in imminent danger, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For non-emergencies, you may report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This toll free number allows you to report abuse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The law requires an “oral” report, so reports are typically made by phone. You may be asked for additional written information from the agency you contacted.
You do not need to report to both DHS and local law enforcement. A report to one agency will be communicated to the other.
In addition to an external report, university employees have a further obligation to internally notify OSU about any instances of child abuse related to university activities or affiliated persons by submitting the OSU Mandatory Reporting Notification Form. However, this does not alleviate your duty to report to DHS or law enforcement.
Should a supervisor receive such a report, the supervisor is to immediately contact the OSU Office of Equal Opportunity and Access at 541-737-3556 or [email protected].
If possible, provide the following information:
No. You are asking DHS or law enforcement to make an assessment of the situation, and you must report any time you have “reasonable cause” to believe a child was abused. If you have questions about whether or not to report, please call the local DHS office or the OSU Office of Youth Safety & Compliance at 541-737-9362 or [email protected].
If you have reasonable cause to believe that another person with whom you come in contact abused a child or suffered child abuse in the past, your reporting obligation has no time limit and you must contact DHS or law enforcement.
Reporting obligations apply if a writing assignment or essay contains descriptions of child abuse or neglect, provided you have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse, or that someone has abused a child.
If a child discloses abuse, remain calm, be patient, and try not to rush the child. If appropriate, ask open-ended questions, but do not press the child for details. Use active listening to repeat what the child said using their own words. Ask, "Is there anything else?" Tell the child you believe them and that you are going to contact people who can help.
No, they do not. Employees of Oregon higher education institutions are considered public officials, who are designated by the law as mandatory reporters. Your obligations as a mandatory reporter are specific to you as an individual, not a time period, location, or role/duty. As a mandatory reporter, your obligations continue 24/7, no matter where you are.
The reporter’s identity will remain confidential to the full extent allowable by laws. If court action is initiated, the reporting person may be called as a witness or the court may order that the reporter’s name be disclosed. Only people with firsthand knowledge of the child’s situation can provide testimony proving that abuse has occurred.
Oregon law (ORS 419.025) provides that anyone participating in good faith in making a report of child abuse and who has reasonable grounds for making the report will have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might occur with respect to the making or content of such report.
The most significant consequence of not reporting is that a child may continue to be abused. Mandatory Reporters who fail to report can be subject to prosecution of a Class A criminal violation of the law, which carries a maximum penalty of $2,000. You could also be sued personally in civil court for failing to report child abuse.
As with any violation of the law, failure to report can be grounds for disciplinary action at OSU, up to and including termination.