TITLE 40
Human Services

CHAPTER 40-11
Abused and Neglected Children

SECTION 40-11-3.3


§ 40-11-3.3. Duty to report – Sexual abuse of a child in an educational program.

(a) Any person who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that any child has been the victim of sexual abuse by an employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of an educational program as defined in § 40-11-2 shall, within twenty-four (24) hours, transfer that information to the department of children, youth and families, or its agent; provided, however, that if the person mandated to report is an employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of an educational program as defined in § 40-11-2, they shall immediately notify the principal, headmaster, executive director, or other person in charge of the educational program, or his or her designated agent. The principal, headmaster, executive director, or other person in charge of the educational program, or his or her designated agent, shall be responsible for all subsequent notification to the department of children, youth and families, or its agent in the manner required by this section. In the case of a public educational program, the principal, headmaster, executive director, or other person in charge of the educational program, or his or her designated agent, shall also notify the superintendent of the public educational program. Any transferred information shall include the name, title, and contact information for every employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of the educational program who is believed to have direct knowledge of the allegation. Nothing in this section is intended to require more than one report from any educational program for a specific incident.

(b) In order to provide guidance and consistency in reporting, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall promulgate policies and procedures for the creation and handling of reports made by the principal, headmaster, executive director, or other person in charge of the educational program, or his or her designated agent in order to carry out the intent of this section.

(c) The department of children, youth and families, or its agent shall immediately forward the report to state police and local law enforcement, and shall initiate an investigation of the allegations of sexual abuse if it determines that the report meets the criteria for a child protective services investigation. As a result of those reports and referrals, the department shall refer those children to appropriate services and support systems in order to provide for their health and welfare. In the event the department substantiates the allegations of sexual abuse against an employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of an educational program, the department shall immediately notify the state police; local law-enforcement agency; the department of education; the educational program; the person who is the subject of the investigation; and the parent, or parents, of the child who is alleged to be the victim of the sexual abuse of the department's findings.

(d) The director of the department of children, youth and families is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to the investigation of the allegation of sexual abuse in order to carry out the intent of this section.

(e) For purposes of this section, "reasonable cause to know or suspect" means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing, when appropriate, on the person's training and experience, to suspect child abuse. "Reasonable cause to know or suspect" does not require certainty that child sexual abuse has occurred nor does it require a specific medical indication of child sexual abuse; any "reasonable cause to know or suspect" is sufficient.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2016, ch. 352, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 373, § 2; P.L. 2018, ch. 179, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 240, § 1.)