Mandated reporters are people who are legally required to contact the authorities when they learn of a child being hurt or abused.
Primarily, mandated reporters work with children on a regular basis (like teachers) or have other professional ethical obligations (like psychologists) to report. You might be surprised to find out that that’s not all of us. Legally you can’t be held responsible for failing to report abuse if you see it while out walking around. Morally, that’s a different story.
One specific case in Kansas involving the death of a young boy is changing some of the rules around who is held responsible for reporting abuse, though some say there’s still a long way to go.
Adrian Jones was tortured and abused for most of his short life by his father and stepmother. After his death, we wrote about his parents’ sentencing here.
While it’s important that his abusers were brought to justice, it turns out another relative was living in the home the entire time and failed to report the abuse. Even though he didn’t participate, he allowed Adrian to die.
Kansas State Representative Louis Ruiz has named his recent bill “Adrian’s Act.” If passed, it would require adults living with a child being abused to report that to the correct authorities or also face prosecution. It could save lives.
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