What is Reporting?
All staff must be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, know how to respond appropriately, and report suspected cases immediately.
At minimum, Reporting includes:
- All employees and volunteers are aware of their legal and organizational obligations to immediately report suspected abuse.
- All employees and volunteers are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse.
- All employees and volunteers know how to respond to a child who discloses abuse.
- All employees and volunteers know how and to whom to report concerns, suspicions, allegations, and disclosures of abuse.
- Written reporting procedures, guidelines, and a clearly defined reporting chain accessible before, during, and after normal operating hours.
How-To in 3 Steps
Learn more about developing a Reporting protocol. Download a free copy to keep and share with your team.
Recognizing Signs of Abuse
- Train all staff and volunteers at least annually on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse in children and grooming behaviors in adults.
- Ensure staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities to hold each other accountable in all interactions under Massachusetts law and organizational policy.
- Review signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect at staff meetings, professional development days, and in supervision.
- Provide ongoing training to staff and volunteers, both in-person and online.
- Connect with your local DCF office and other child abuse prevention organizations in your community.
Responding to Allegations of Abuse
- Maximize opportunities to talk with staff about youth protection issues and policies to build comfort with the topic of child abuse.
- Use supervision to support staff in coming forward to discuss concerning behaviors, or to report suspicions, observations or disclosures of child abuse.
- Reinforce and remind staff that how adults respond to a disclosure of abuse can impact the recovery of the child and youth.
- Certify that staff and volunteers know reporting suspected abuse affords protections for the reporter under Massachusetts law.
- Ensure staff and volunteers who report suspected abuse will not be subject to any adverse action by the organization or their colleagues.
Reporting Suspicions of Abuse
- Establish clear reporting policies and procedures and ensure they are reviewed by all staff at hire and at least annually.
- Ensure all staff and volunteers are aware of how to make a report, whom to notify, how to complete required documentation and adhere to confidentiality.
- Train all staff and volunteers on when, how, and to whom to report suspected abuse or disclosures of abuse.
- Guarantee staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities to report under Massachusetts law and your YSOs internal protocols.
- Determine your YSO’s communication and public relations policy, including how to respond to allegations, and disclosures of abuse committed by any employee.