Child abuse is not only a real day-to-day issue, it can also be a cause of depression, anxiety and distress as a child or once they become an adult. Some victims of child abuse are unable to trust others, be involved in close relationships, struggle to regulate their emotions and can even feel worthless for the rest of their lives. Child abuse is not only physical and sexual abuse, it is also emotional abuse or child neglect. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal from their abuse and not perpetuate the cycle.
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires each State to have provisions or procedures for requiring certain individuals to report known or suspected instances of child abuse and neglect.
In Alaska, the following people are Mandatory Reporters:
- Health practitioners or administrative officers of institutions
- Teachers and school administrators, including athletic coaches, of public and private schools
- Child care providers
- Paid employees of domestic violence and sexual assault programs, crisis intervention and prevention programs, or organizations that provide counseling or treatment to individuals seeking to control their use of drugs or alcohol
- Peace officers or officers of the Department of Corrections
- Persons who process or produce visual or printed matter, either privately or commercially
- Members of a child fatality review team or the multidisciplinary child protection team
- Volunteers who interact with children in a public or private school for more than 4 hours a week
Mandatory reporting applies even when you have a patient encounter as an RMT Provider. As a mandatory reporter, you must report suspected abuse immediately, which means as soon as reasonably possible, and no later than within 24 hours. In Alaska, a report must be made to both OCS AND Law Enforcement and this needs to be documented in the patient’s medical record.
A report must be made when the reporter, in his or her official capacity, suspects or has reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected or situations in which the reporter has knowledge of, or observes a child being subjected to, conditions that would reasonably result in harm to the child.
Mandatory reporters are required to report the facts and circumstances that led them to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected. They do not have the burden of providing proof that abuse or neglect has occurred. Always try to report the name, age, and address of the child, along with as many details relevant to the abuse being reported as possible.
Children often need support to get help, and their families may be too ashamed, distressed or not know how to ask for help. It can be difficult reporting child abuse. People often find it easier to avoid thinking about the possibility a child may have been abused. However, if you don’t report child abuse, the child will be unprotected and the abuse will continue.
- every child has the right to be cared for and protected by adults
- a child is never to blame for their abuse
- abuse can affect a child for the rest of their life
- think about how you would feel if you don’t act to protect the child
- if you suspect a child has been abused, it’s better to report it even if you’re not sure, rather than do nothing at all
- trust your instincts if you think a child is being abused and report the abuse
- if the offender is a child or teenager, reporting the abuse can help them get support to change their behavior
- You can view additional training here: Mandatory Reporter (state.ak.us)
- Suspected Physical Abuse Procedure (Pediatric) YKHC Clinical Guideline
- Suspected Sexual Abuse Procedure (Pediatric) YKHC Clinical Guideline
Important Contact Information
Office of Children’s Services (OCS)
- Intake - 800-478-4444
Alaska State Troopers (AST)
- Bethel Main - 907-543-2294
Bethel Police Department (BPD)
- Dispatch - 907-543-3781
YKHC Child Maltreatment Team (CMT)
- TT Role - Child Abuse On Call
- Office – 907-543-6043