Personnel Manual

Reporting Abuse or Neglect of a Child

September 2012

Purpose

It is the moral and ethical responsibility of all members of the campus community to protect children from abuse or neglect. Stopping such abuse or neglect and reporting it to the proper authorities is an imperative that is, and has been, shared by all.

Now, under the requirements of state law, all employees of PLU also have a legal obligation to report abuse or neglect of a child to a proper law enforcement agency, the state Department of Social and Health Services, or the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator.

Washington State law, RCW 26.44.030 and RCW 28B.10.646, requires the following PLU employees to report or cause a report to be made whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect: administrative employees, academic department employees, athletic department employees, including student employees in each of these departments.

State law also imposes reporting obligations on all other PLU employees.

Outlined below are the PLU procedures designed to ensure compliance with the law, to ensure that the required reports are made and to coordinate PLU’s efforts to prevent the abuse or neglect of children.

PLU Employees Required to Report Possible Abuse or Neglect

Under the law, the following two groups of employees have reporting obligations.

(1)   Administrative, academic or athletic department employees, including student employees in these departments, are “mandatory reporters” under the law. Individuals may report directly to law enforcement or the Department of Social and Health Services and under this policy, must report to the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator. These employees must report or cause a report to be made whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect.  Supervisors in these departments also must report abuse by persons they supervise, even if such persons are not members of the PLU community (a volunteer, for example),

(2)   All other employees of Pacific Lutheran University not included in category 1 are covered by this law.  These additional employees must report to the Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator designated by Pacific Lutheran University whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect.  This section applies, for example, to staff employees employed in departments such as cleaning services, dining services and grounds.

Definitions

The term “child” means any person under 18 years of age. 

The term “abuse or neglect” means sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or injury of a child by any person under circumstances which could cause harm to the child’s health, safety or welfare, excluding certain conduct by the child’s parent or guardian and other conduct permitted by law.  Any PLU employee who has any question regarding whether specific conduct constitutes “abuse or neglect” should contact the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator. 

PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator

PLU has designated the Director of Human Resources as the Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator under this policy.  That person may be reached at 253.535.7185 or EndHarm@plu.edu

To Whom Are Reports to be Made

The law requires a report be made to the “proper law enforcement agency” or to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.  In most cases, the “proper law enforcement agency” to receive a report of possible abuse or neglect of a child will be the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.  The “proper law enforcement agency” depends on where the child is located.  Employees with any questions as to the proper law enforcement agency to receive a report should contact the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator or call the Washington State reporting hotline, 1-866-ENDHARM. 

When is a Report to be Made

All persons who are “mandatory reporters” (i.e., persons in category (1) in the “Who is Covered” section of this policy), are required to report or cause a report to be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency or the Department of Social and Health Services whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect.  All employees who are not mandatory reporters, (persons covered by category (2) in the “Who is Covered” section of this policy), are required to report to the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator whenever those persons have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect. 

The required report (whether required to be made to law enforcement, the Department of Social and Health Services or to the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator) must be made within 48 hours of the time the person becomes aware of the abuse or neglect.

How to make a Report

PLU has developed the following reporting policy so reports are timely and appropriate.  PLU prefers reports be made initially to PLU’s Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator.  That person will then ensure that a timely report is made to the appropriate law enforcement agency or to the Department of Social and Health Services and will confirm, in writing, to the “mandatory reporter” that a report has been made.  If a mandatory reporter makes a report directly to the appropriate law enforcement agency or the Department of Social and Health Services, that person is still required by PLU policy to also make a report to the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator.  The latter report is necessary for the administration to properly monitor potential issues of abuse or neglect, to ensure that appropriate services are offered to individuals involved and to take other appropriate action under PLU Policies and Procedures, including, as applicable, employment policies, student conduct policies, or PLU Dispute Resolution policies. 

Persons who are not “mandatory reporters” (i.e. those staff employees covered by above category 2 in the Who is Covered section of this policy) are required to make a report to the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator.

Questions

Any question regarding an employee’s reporting obligations or other questions about this policy should be directed to the PLU Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator at 253.535.7185 or EndHarm@plu.edu.

Last Modified: September 26, 2012 at 02:17 PM