In Connecticut, there are certain professions that have mandatory reporting laws that give professionals the responsibility of reporting abuse. Licensed healthcare professionals are mandatory reporters that must report any suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of certain groups.
This goes without saying, but one of the most vulnerable groups of people is children and suspected abuse or neglect of children is taken very seriously. According to C.G.S. §17a-101, healthcare professionals must report suspected abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Families’ Child Abuse and Neglect Careline or to the police. The reporting must occur within 12 hours from the time of the suspicion that there has been mistreatment. The reporter must also specify who the alleged perpetrator is if they know. Healthcare professionals, educators, daycare workers, and other professionals that work with children should be familiarized with their mandatory reporting responsibilities. The failure to report child abuse or neglect could result in not only a loss of professional license, but also criminal prosecution.
Protecting the Disabled
People with disabilities are another group of vulnerable people and there is mandatory reporting for most healthcare professionals that suspect that a person with disabilities is being abused or neglected. This includes most healthcare professionals, therapists, school counselors and workers, mental health professionals, abuse counselors, police officers, battered women counselors, social workers, and others. If there is any suspected abuse or neglect, the professional must report it within five days of suspicion to the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. Mandatory reporters who fail to report will be fined up to $500.
Protecting the Elderly
There are mandatory reporting laws for residents in long-term care facilities. These residents are very vulnerable to abuse and neglect and unreported abuse because they are often physically or mentally impaired and without their friends or family to confide in. Their only source of care could be the abuser, so this makes these groups even more susceptible to abuse. Healthcare professionals and any administrator, staff member, or employee of the long-term care facility must report if they suspect that a resident is being abused, neglected, exploited, or abandoned. This abuse could include sexual, emotional, physical, and financial abuse. The reporting must occur within five days of the suspicion to the Commissioner of Social Services. Failure to report could result in a fine of up to $500.
The elderly population is another group of people that is vulnerable to abuse and neglect and being taken advantage of because of physical and mental impairments, lack of social contacts, and susceptibility to harm and injury. Hospitals and healthcare professionals are mandatory reports as well as therapists, police officers, and social workers. Any suspected abuse or neglect must be reported within five days to the Commissioner of Social Services. Failure to report this abuse could result in a fine up to $500.
If you work in the healthcare industry or are a mandatory reporter, and you have failed to report suspected abuse or neglect of one of the vulnerable groups, you could be at risk for losing a professional license. If you have questions or concerns about mandatory reporting or the status of your professional license, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.