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Pima County Community College District Standard Practice Guide

SPG Title:  Mandatory Reporting – Abuse of a Minor
SPG Number:
  SPG-1505/BB
Effective Date:  10/10/08
Approval Date:  10/10/08
Review Date(s):  12/16/08, 11/22/11
Revision Date(s):  12/16/08, 11/22/11
Schedule for Review & Update:  Annually
Unit Responsible for Review & Update:  Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Sponsoring Unit/Department:  Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Regulation Title & No.:  Sexual Violence, RG-1505/A
Board Policy Title & No.:  Institutional Security and Safety, BP-1505
Legal Reference:  A.R.S. § 13-3620
Cross Reference:  Institutional Security and Safety, BP-1505, Sexual Violence, RG-1505/A


PURPOSE

The purpose of this procedure is to implement Board Policy on Institutional Security and Safety as it relates to mandatory reports of (1) child abuse, (2) neglect or (3) reportable offenses (sex crimes against children). The Office of the Chancellor delegates responsibility to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and the Department of Public Safety for ensuring that the Board Policy on Institutional Security and Safety, as it relates to this SPG, is implemented.

No College employee is exempted from Arizona’s mandatory reporting statute (A.R.S. §13-3620).  This statute requires College personnel, including faculty, staff, and administrators, who learn in the course and scope of their employment that a minor has been the victim of abuse to immediately report this information. The College requires that the report be made to the College Department of Public Safety (“DPS”).  The duty to make a mandatory report is not satisfied by conveying the information to another College employee. The requirement to make a mandatory report includes situations where the victim of the abuse is under 18 years of age as well as situations where the victim is now 18 years of age or older but was abused as a minor.  Failure of an employee to make a mandatory report can result in the employee being charged with a misdemeanor or a class 6 felony.

Section 1 – Definitions

1.1     “Abuse.”  In this SPG, the term abuse includes child abuse, neglect and/or reportable offenses (sex crimes against children).

1.2     “Minor” or “Child.”  A minor or child is someone under the age of 18.  The duty to report also applies to a victims under the age of 18 at the time of the abuse but who is now 18 years of age or older.

1.3     “Child Abuse.”  Child abuse occurs when someone causes a child to suffer physical injury, or when someone who has the care or custody of a child causes or permits such child to be placed in a situation where the child’s health or safety is at substantial risk.

1.4     “Physical Injury.”  Physical injury is any skin bruising, pressure sores, bleeding, failure to thrive, malnutrition, dehydration, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, injury to any internal organ, or any other impairment of a child’s physical function; provided, however, that physical injury does not include any impairment caused by accident.

1.5     “Neglect.”  Neglect is the inability or unwillingness of a parent, guardian or custodian of a child to provide that child with supervision, food, clothing, shelter or medical care if there is a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare.  See also A.R.S. §8-201.

1.6     “Reportable Offenses.”  Reportable offenses include sex crimes against children and usually involve touching of the vagina, penis, anus or female breast.  The touching can be over the clothing.  The touching can be minor-to-minor, minor-to-adult, or adult-to-minor.  Touching includes penetration, fondling, touching or oral contact.  Sex crimes against children that do not involve the above-described touching include the following offenses:  A.R.S. §13-3019, surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording a minor when the minor has the expectation of privacy; A.R.S. §13-3506.01, furnishing harmful pornographic items to minors by email or internet; A.R.S. §13-3212, child prostitution; A.R.S. §13-3608, incest; and, A.R.S. § 13-3551-3559, sexual exploitation of children (pornography).

1.7     “Mandatory Report.”  In this SPG a mandatory report is a report of abuse made by a College employee to DPS as required by A.R.S. §13-3620.

1.8   “Reasonable Belief.”  The Arizona Court of Appeals has said:  “Reasonable belief is a very low standard.  If there are any facts from which one could reasonably conclude that a child has been the victim of one of the offenses [where a mandatory report is required], the person knowing the facts has a duty to report . . .” A College employee may form a reasonable belief from (1) his or her own observations, (2) a student’s self-disclosure, or (3) information from a third party.

For purposes of this regulation, the above definitions are given in general terms.  For more specific information, refer to A.R.S. §13-3620 and the other statutes referenced in the statute and this Regulation.

Section 2 – Reporting Responsibilities

2.1     Any College employee who reasonably believes that a minor is or has been subjected to abuse must immediately report the information to DPS at telephone number 206-2700.  Either before or after making a mandatory report, a College employee should discuss the matter with his or her administrative supervisor but such discussion does not eliminate the obligation of the employee to make a mandatory report and should not delay a report being made to DPS.  A College employee may also make a mandatory report to Child Protective Services (“CPS”), the Pima County Sheriff’s Office or the Tucson Police Department, but this is not required.  Once an employee makes a mandatory report, the employee shall not communicate information about the mandatory report to anyone else except as provided for in this SPG.  The College employee may refer any future inquiries about the matter to DPS.

          In forming a reasonable belief, a College employee should use discretion in asking questions of a victim (or third-party).  If the College employee believes the victim (or third-party) may be less than 18 years of age, it is preferred that the College employees not ask any questions of the victim. The College employee should limit questions of any victim to the following: what happened?; who did it?; and where were you when it happened? 

          In all cases, gathering detailed information must be left to law enforcement professionals.  It is not up to College personnel to “prove” that abuse has or probably has occurred. Before making a mandatory report, a College employee should not communicate with an alleged abuser concerning the matter.

2.2     Arizona law requires that a mandatory report shall be made immediately by telephone or in person and shall be followed by a written report by the same individual within seventy-two hours.  DPS will assist the College employee in compiling the written report.  The report should include, if known:

  • The names and addresses of the minor and the minor’s parents or the person or persons having custody of the minor.
  • The minor’s age and the nature and extent of the minor’s abuse, child abuse, physical injury or neglect, including any evidence of previous abuse, child abuse, physical injury or neglect.
  • Any other information that the person believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the abuse, child abuse, physical injury or neglect.

          An employee’s written report need only include the facts known by the employee and the employee should not gather additional facts or information.

2.3     A College employee should discuss a mandatory report with his or her Administrative supervisor. The confidentiality of all information regarding a mandatory report shall be maintained, except as provided in this SPG or when it is requested by College Police, CPS or the County Attorney.

2.4     Arizona law provides immunity from any civil or criminal liability to any College employee making a mandatory report to law enforcement or CPS unless the employee acted with malice. 

2.5     It is a misdemeanor to fail to report child abuse and neglect.  It is a Class 6 felony to fail to report “reportable offenses.” A.R.S. §13-3620

2.6     If the person being accused of abuse is a College employee, it is considered a College emergency.  In such cases, following the mandatory report, the reporting employee should contact the Employee Relations Department or the Chief Human Resources Officer.

2.7     Reports to law enforcement of information gained outside of one’s employment with the College are not required unless such information is received because of an individual’s employment with the College.

Section 3 – Investigative Responsibilities

3.1     DPS shall initiate and/or conduct investigations of matters that are the subject of mandatory reports as it deems appropriate. When DPS receives a mandatory report where the person accused is a College employee, a DPS officer shall discuss the matter with the College’s Employee Relations Department or the Chief Human Resources Officer.