42 U.S. Code § 13031 - Child abuse reporting
A person who, while engaged in a professional capacity or activity described in subsection (b) on Federal land or in a federally operated (or contracted) facility, learns of facts that give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse, shall as soon as possible make a report of the suspected abuse to the agency designated under subsection (d) and to the agency or agencies provided for in subsection (e), if applicable.
For all Federal lands and all federally operated (or contracted) facilities in which children are cared for or reside, the Attorney General shall designate an agency to receive and investigate the reports described in subsection (a). By formal written agreement, the designated agency may be a non-Federal agency. When such reports are received by social services or health care agencies, and involve allegations of sexual abuse, serious physical injury, or life-threatening neglect of a child, there shall be an immediate referral of the report to a law enforcement agency with authority to take emergency action to protect the child. All reports received shall be promptly investigated, and whenever appropriate, investigations shall be conducted jointly by social services and law enforcement personnel, with a view toward avoiding unnecessary multiple interviews with the child.
In the case of an incident described in subsection (a) involving a child in the family or home of member of the Armed Forces (regardless of whether the incident occurred on or off a military installation), the report required by subsection (a) shall be made to the appropriate child welfare services agency or agencies of the State in which the child resides. The Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security (with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy) shall jointly, in consultation with the chief executive officers of the States, designate the child welfare service agencies of the States that are appropriate recipients of reports pursuant to this subsection. Any report on an incident pursuant to this subsection is in addition to any other report on the incident pursuant to this section.
For purposes of the making of reports under this section pursuant to this subsection, the persons engaged in professions and activities described in subsection (b) shall include members of the Armed Forces who are engaged in such professions and activities for members of the Armed Forces and their dependents.
In every federally operated (or contracted) facility, and on all Federal lands, a standard written reporting form, with instructions, shall be disseminated to all mandated reporter groups. Use of the form shall be encouraged, but its use shall not take the place of the immediate making of oral reports, telephonically or otherwise, when circumstances dictate.
All persons who, acting in good faith, make a report by subsection (a), or otherwise provide information or assistance in connection with a report, investigation, or legal intervention pursuant to a report, shall be immune from civil and criminal liability arising out of such actions. There shall be a presumption that any such persons acted in good faith. If a person is sued because of the person’s performance of one of the above functions, and the defendant prevails in the litigation, the court may order that the plaintiff pay the defendant’s legal expenses. Immunity shall not be accorded to persons acting in bad faith.
All individuals in the occupations listed in subsection (b)(1) who work on Federal lands, or are employed in federally operated (or contracted) facilities, shall receive periodic training in the obligation to report, as well as in the identification of abused and neglected children.
2016—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 114–328, § 575(b)(1), inserted before period at end “and to the agency or agencies provided for in subsection (e), if applicable”.
Subsecs. (e) to (g). Pub. L. 114–328, § 575(b)(2), (3), added subsec. (e) and redesignated former subsecs. (e) and (f) as (f) and (g), respectively.