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Here Are The Mandatory Reporting Laws In Massachusetts



(1) Does the state require everyone to report child abuse, including sex abuse? No, but it comes close. The law requires anyone to report who, in his or her “professional capacity,” believes a child is being abused. The law hinges mandatory reporter status on an individual’s status as a “professional,” which, in most statuses, hinges on a state-issued professional license or the employee’s receipt of a paycheck from an institution or facility.

(2) Does the law require coaches to report child abuse? If the coach is a professional, then yes. Anyone who is “paid to care for or work with a child in any public or private facility” is a mandatory reporter. It is unclear on the immediate face of the law whether volunteer coaches would be mandatory reporters.

(3) Does the law require college staff to report child abuse? Yes, under (1) the presumption that the reporter interacts professionally with a child under the definition above, and (2) under the presumption that college staff is “paid to care for or work with a child in any public or private facility.”

(4) Does the law allow jail time for those who fail to properly report abuse? Yes; the punishment for failing to report ranges from a fine of up to $1,000 or a prison sentence of up to two and a half years, depending on the severity of the abuse the child suffered. The law also explicitly states that a conviction has other ramification on an individual’s professional license.

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.