In recognition of the unreported criminal activities that surrounded the Penn State child abuse scandal, many states have enacted laws and/or reinforced current laws defining mandated child abuse or neglect reporting requirements.
The Virginia Legislature has extended reporting requirements, effective July 1, 2012, mandating that every employee of a public or private institution of higher education who, in his or her employment capacity, has reason to suspect that a child (under the age of 18) is an abused or neglected child, has a responsibility under law and must report the suspected child abuse or neglect within 24 hours. This report must be made to the local city or county Social Services office where the child resides, where the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred, or to the Virginia Department of Social Services toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline (800) 552-7096.
If any employee of Liberty University fails to report suspected abuse within 24 hours, he or she may be criminally charged with failure to report such abuse or neglect and the employee may have to pay a fine of $500 for the first offense and not less than $1,000 for the second failure to report. If the child abuse involves certain types of sexual abuse, the employee who knowingly and intentionally fails to make the required report shall be guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The law provides that no mandatory reporter, which includes all LU employees, shall be required to make a report if the employee has actual knowledge that the same matter has already been reported to the local Social Services office or via the toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline.
Liberty University strictly complies with the letter of the law as well as the spirit of the law. This policy applies to all LU employees. We have adopted the following employee policy in this regard:
Employee Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Child Abuse and Neglect
The University strictly abides with the reporting requirements as mandated under Virginia Code 63.2-1509. All employees are required to report any suspected child abuse or neglect of any child under the age of 18 that they have knowledge of through their employment capacity regardless of the nature of the abuse or neglect, the identity of the suspected perpetrator of the abuse or neglect, or the location in which the suspected abuse or neglect occurred.
Any employee who, in his or her employment capacity, has reason to believe or reasonably suspects child abuse or neglect has occurred in association with any LU affiliated person, property, business or activity, should inform University authorities as soon as possible.
- In order to file a report, contact Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) by calling (434) 592-7641; no longer than 12 hours after first suspecting abuse or neglect so that the University can respond within the 24 hour requirement. LUPD will investigate the report and file the report with the Department of Social Services as required.
- In the event any employee witnesses any form of child abuse as outlined above, notify any Liberty University police officer by calling (434) 592-7641 immediately.
- If an employee has reported suspected abuse or neglect to LUPD and has not received confirmation that the matter was reported to the local or state Social Services before the 24-hour mandatory deadline has expired, the employee must report the abuse or neglect directly to Social Services by the reporting deadline required by law. Immediately following a direct report to Social Services, the employee must notify LUPD and provide details of when the report was originally made, who received the report and any communications resulting from the report.
No employee will suffer any retaliation or adverse employment action based on filing a good faith report or for participating in any investigation of suspected child abuse or neglect. Any employee who intentionally fails to timely report suspected child abuse or neglect or fails to timely report child abuse or neglect that the employee should reasonably have suspected, the employee will be subject to discipline up to and including termination and may also be subject to criminal charges.