Index

  • Objectives
  • Reporting Requirements for Clergy
  • Steps to Comply with Legal Requirements

Objectives

  • To understand the reporting requirements of clergy for domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • To understand the underlying rationale for public policy.
  • To define the necessary steps clergy need to take to ensure that they are complying with legal requirements in their state.

Reporting Requirements for Clergy

Even though clergy may not be directly involved in legal proceedings related to child abuse and domestic violence, it is important to know about some of the laws and their meaning and whether or not reporting is mandatory.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence against competent adults is a crime under federal law and in some state laws. Unless it is mandated by your state, mandatory reporting for these incidents may not be required.

Child Abuse

Every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories have statutes that outline who is required to report child maltreatment; as of 2006, approximately 26 states include clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. Because each state’s requirements can vary, it is important to know what your state requires. To find statute information for a particular state, click here. A summary of the State Laws can be found in “Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws.” Click here to download this document.

In cases where there may be a confidential or privileged communication, the ECC requires its clergy to consult with the conference superintendent and the executive minister of the department of the Ordered Ministry to explore all issues and known avenues for appropriate reporting.

Because of the sensitive nature of incidents of child abuse (physical or sexual) or domestic violence it may seem awkward or difficult to enter into the arena of reporting suspected or known incidents to law enforcement or city human services. What is critical to remember is the following: Even though clergy may not be directly involved in legal proceedings related to child abuse and domestic violence, it is important to know about some of the laws and their meaning and whether or not reporting is mandatory.

Steps to Comply with Legal Requirements

Familiarize yourself with the:
  • Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Statutes of your state (located on the web)
  • The various forms of Protection Orders that are court ordered and where they can be obtained (contact your local Domestic Violence Center or Coalition for information)
  • What happens when Protection Orders are violated (contact your Local Domestic Violence Center or Coalition for information)
  • What are the requirements for your Law Enforcement under your State’s Domestic Violence Statute, if applicable? (Contact your local Law Enforcement Department)
  • Collect and keep on hand a list of Hotline numbers for reporting:
    • Child Abuse
    • Domestic Violence
    • Elder Abuse
    • Disabled Persons Abuse
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