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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 is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."