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Child Abuse: Report It Now or Face The Consequences

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Child abuse is considered to be such a heinous crime that the Texas Legislature has made it a crime for anyone who suspects abuse is taking place to avoid reporting it. In fact, the law requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse is much stricter than in any other state, and can result in significant penalties and the loss of a professional license for those who fail to comply with it.

Child Abuse and Negligence Requirements

Anyone who works with children is required to report suspected abuse to Child Protective Services within 48 hours after having these suspicions. Certain professionals are named under the law, including:

  • Teachers
  • Correctional officers
  • Doctors
  • Coaches
  • Nurses

While these professions are named, this does not exclude others who may suspect child abuse from reporting it. The law actually extends to everyone regardless of position or relationship with a potential victim. Those who report suspected child abuse can choose to have their identity shielded so as to avoid retribution for making their allegations in the first place.

Statewide Database

All reports of child abuse are maintained in a statewide database that is maintained in Austin. Officials here may share reports with other states that also maintain similar databases. As a result, those who have ever been the target of a child abuse investigation could find this information is discoverable during a detailed background check or when trying to obtain a security clearance in the future.

False Reporting

The Texas Family Code lists some possible sanctions for those who are found to have filed false reports. False reports are said to have been filed whenever an individual knowingly makes a report that is false with the intent to deceive another. Doing so can be considered a state jail felony, which is punishable by between six months and two years in state jail, along with a fine of up to $4,000.

Second and subsequent offenses are considered to be third-degree felonies, and are punishable by between two and ten years in prison, along with a fine of up to $10,000. Individuals who file false reports can also be subject to civil action, regardless of the number of offenses they have been charged with.

In making it a crime not to report child abuse, the state of Texas is hoping to prevent more serious cases from taking the lives of innocent children or causing them irreparable harm. Reports that are filed timely and in good faith go a long way towards protecting children; however, this reporting requirement could also result in a number of innocent people facing child abuse charges. In any case, those who are accused of this crime should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney.

If you have been accused of committing a negligent child abuse crime, then you could be facing a difficult chapter of your life. One way to make your life a little easier is be seeking legal counsel from an experienced sex crimes attorney. Get a hold of Brett A. Podolsky today by phone at 713.227.0087.

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