Mandated Abuse Reporting for
Children and Adults
Robert W. Marrs, MS, LMFT
AAMFT Approved Supervisor
On Behalf of Wisconsin Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Child Abuse Reporting
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The State of Wisconsin requires individuals who work in
certain professions to report child and adult abuse and
neglect. With some exceptions, any of the following
individuals who “has reasonable cause to suspect that a
child seen by the person in the course of professional
duties has been abused or neglected or who has reason
to believe that a child seen by the person in the course of
professional duties has been threatened with abuse or
neglect and that abuse or neglect of the child will occur”
must report as described below [See Wis. Stat. sec.
48.981(2)(a)].
Child Abuse Reporting
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Every new instance of child abuse or neglect must be
reported. Reporters are protected from discharge for
reporting child abuse. Reports must be made to law
enforcement, the child welfare agency (CWA), or child
protective services (CPS) agency. Law enforcement must
refer all reports to CWA or CPS agencies within 12 hours.
CWA or CPS agencies must refer reports of sexual abuse
to law enforcement within 12 hours and must also
develop a policy regarding referrals for other types of
abuse. These agencies are required to collaborate with
each other when investigating sexual abuse.
Child Abuse Reporting: Who Must
Report? Wis. Stat. 48.981 (2)(a)
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Physician
Dentist
Nurse
Clergy
Medical / Mental Health
Professional
AODA Counselor
Optometrist
Case Manager
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Teacher / School
Counselor
Occupational Therapist
Speech Therapist
Physical Therapist
Public Assistance Worker
Child Care Worker
Dietician
Financial / Employment
Planners
Child Abuse Reporting: What Is
Abuse? Wi. Stat. 48.02(1)
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Physical Abuse inflicted on a child by nonaccidental means, serious physical harm
inflicted on an unborn child, and the risk of
serious physical harm to a child when born,
caused by the habitual lack of self-control of
the expectant mother in the use of alcoholic
beverages, controlled substances, or controlled
substance analogs, exhibited to a severe
degree
Child Abuse Reporting: What Is
Abuse? Wi. Stat. 48.02(1)
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Sexual Abuse, defined as sexual intercourse or sexual
contact under s. 940.225, 948.02, or 948.025 (sexual
assault, sexual assault of a child, and repeated acts of
sexual assault of the same child)
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Sexual exploitation of a child
Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity
Permitting, allowing, or encouraging a child to engage in
prostitution
Exposing genitals or pubic area
Child Abuse Reporting: What Is
Abuse? Wi. Stat. 48.02(1)
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Emotional Damage for which the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian has neglected, refused, or
been unable for reasons other than poverty to obtain
the necessary treatment or to take steps to relieve the
symptoms.
Child Abuse Reporting: What Is
Abuse? Wi. Stat. 48.02(1)
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Neglect is the “failure, refusal or inability on the part of
a parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person
exercising temporary or permanent control over a child,
for reasons other than poverty, to provide necessary
care, food, clothing, medical or dental care or shelter
so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the
child”
Elder Abuse Reporting
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Elder Adult-at-Risk, as defined in Wis. Stat. §
46.90(br), means any person age 60 or older who has
experienced, is currently experiencing, or is at risk of
experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial
exploitation.
Elder Abuse Reporting
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Adult-at-Risk, as defined in Wis. Stat. § 55.043(1e),
means any adult who has a physical or mental
condition that substantially impairs his or her ability to
care for his or her needs and who has experienced, is
currently experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing
abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Abuse means any of the following:
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Physical abuse: intentional or reckless infliction of
physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of
physical condition.
Emotional abuse: language or behavior that serves no
legitimate purpose and is intended to be intimidating,
humiliating, threatening, frightening, or otherwise
harassing, and that does or reasonably could intimidate,
humiliate, threaten, frighten, or otherwise harass the
individual to whom the conduct or language is directed.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Abuse means any of the following:
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Sexual abuse: a violation of criminal assault law, s.
940.225 (1), (2), (3), or (3m).
Treatment without consent: the administration of
medication to an individual who has not provided
informed consent, or the performance of psychosurgery,
electro-convulsive therapy, or experimental research on
an individual who has not provided informed consent,
with the knowledge that no lawful authority exists for the
administration or performance.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Abuse means any of the following:
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Unreasonable confinement or restraint: the intentional
and unreasonable confinement of an individual in a
locked room, involuntary separation of an individual from
his or her living area, use on an individual of physical
restraining devices, or the provision of unnecessary or
excessive medication to an individual, but does not
include the use of these methods or devices in entities
regulated by the department if the methods or devices
are employed in conformance with state and federal
standards governing confinement and restraint.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Financial Exploitation means any of the
following Wis. Stat. § 46.90 (1):
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Obtaining an individual's money or property by deceiving
or enticing the individual, or by forcing, compelling, or
coercing the individual to give, sell at less than fair
market value, or in other ways convey money or property
against his or her will without his or her informed
consent.
Theft, as prohibited in s. 943.20.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Financial Exploitation means any of the following
Wis. Stat. § 46.90 (1) :
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The substantial failure or neglect of a fiscal agent to fulfill
his or her responsibilities.
Unauthorized use of an individual's personal identifying
information or documents, as prohibited in s. 943.201.
Unauthorized use of an entity's identifying information or
documents, as prohibited in s. 943.203.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Financial Exploitation means any of the
following Wis. Stat. § 46.90 (1) :
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Forgery, as prohibited in s. 943.38.
Financial transaction card crimes, as prohibited in
s.943.41.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Neglect means…
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The failure of a caregiver, as evidenced by an act, omission, or
course of conduct, to endeavor to secure or maintain adequate
care, services, or supervision for an individual, including food,
clothing, shelter, or physical or mental health care, and
creating significant risk or danger to the individual's physical or
mental health. "Neglect" does not include a decision that is
made to not seek medical care for an individual, if that decision
is consistent with the individual's previously executed
declaration or do-not-resuscitate order under Chapter 154, a
power of attorney for health care under Chapter 155, or as
otherwise authorized by law.
Elder Abuse Reporting: What Is
Elder Abuse?
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Self-Neglect means…
– A significant danger to an individual's physical or
mental health because the individual is responsible
for his or her own care but fails to obtain adequate
care, including food, shelter, clothing, or medical or
dental care.
Aurora Family Service Reporting
Guidelines
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Mandatory abuse reporting for children, elders,
and adults-at-risk constitutes a critical incident.
All providers should refer to their agency
critical incident policy and procedures for
managing and reporting critical incidents.
Aurora Family Service Reporting
Guidelines
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Take every case, actual or suspected, seriously.
Remind clients that you are a mandated reported
under Wisconsin State Law, and therefore required to
report real or suspected cases of abuse.
Listen for imminent danger or risk. Is safety an
immediate issue? If yes, immediately consult with a
licensed provider, clinical supervisor, or clinic
administrator, and the Police.
Aurora Family Service Reporting
Guidelines
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If there is some question as to whether an incident is
reportable or not, make the report to the appropriate
authority describing the incident but without providing
client information. Document the name and number of
the person you made the report to, and their
recommendation.
Aurora Family Service Reporting
Guidelines
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Explain to the client how the reporting process works.
Your obligation is to report the incident not to decide
the merits of the case, or conduct the investigation.
Encourage the client, parent, or legal guardian to make
the call personally, preferably right there in your office.
Conduct a risk assessment to ensure safety and proper
care.
Aurora Family Service Reporting
Guidelines
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Immediately notify your clinical supervisor and clinic
administrator of the report.
Follow your agency’s policies and procedures
regarding critical incidents and document the incident
in a progress note.
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Include a description of the allegation, your risk assessment,
safety / treatment recommendations, the name/number of who
you filed the report with, and the their recommendation.
Incidents of child and elder abuse must be reported
within 24 hours of the allegation.
Aurora Family Service Reporting
Guidelines
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Consult with your supervisor and clinic
administrator to determine treatment changes,
modifications, and recommendations for the
long-term.
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Mandated Abuse Reporting for Children and Adults