Bill Text

Bill Information

Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-1438 Child abuse reporting.(2011-2012)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
AB1438:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 08, 2012
Amended  IN  Assembly  January 23, 2012

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1438


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Bradford

January 04, 2012


An act to amend Section 11166 152.3 of the Penal Code, relating to child abuse reporting.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1438, as amended, Bradford. Child abuse reporting.
Existing law generally requires a person who reasonably believes that he or she has observed the commission of a lewd or lascivious act on a child who is under 14 years of age by use of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury to notify a peace officer. A failure to report pursuant to those provisions is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,500, by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
This bill would require a person to notify a peace officer when the person believes that he or she has observed the commission of a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 14 years of age, regardless of whether force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and lawful bodily injury is used. By expanding the scope of a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Existing law, the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, requires a mandated reporter, as defined, to report whenever he or she, in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, has knowledge of or observed a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect. Failure to report an incident is a crime punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of 6 months, a fine of up to $1,000, or by both that imprisonment and fine. Existing law specifies that any other person may, but is not required to, report a known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect to any police department, sheriff’s department, or to specified other entities.

This bill would require any person to report to a peace officer a known or suspected instance of a child being the victim of sexual abuse, and would make a failure to report punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of 6 months or a fine of up to $1,000, or by both that imprisonment and fine. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 152.3 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

152.3.
 (a) Any person who reasonably believes that he or she has observed the commission of any of the following offenses where the victim is a child under the age of 14 years of age shall notify a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2:
(1) Murder.
(2) Rape.
(3) A violation of subdivision (a) of, or paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of, Section 288 of the Penal Code.
(b) This section shall not be construed to affect privileged relationships as provided by law.
(c) The duty to notify a peace officer imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) is satisfied if the notification or an attempt to provide notice is made by telephone or any other means.
(d) Failure to notify as required pursuant to subdivision (a) is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500), by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(e) The requirements of this section shall not apply to the following:
(1) A person who is related to either the victim or the offender, including a husband, wife, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, or other person related by consanguinity or affinity.
(2) A person who fails to report based on a reasonable mistake of fact.
(3) A person who fails to report based on a reasonable fear for his or her own safety or for the safety of his or her family.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SECTION 1.Section 11166 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
11166.

(a)Except as provided in subdivision (d), and in Section 11166.05, a mandated reporter shall make a report to an agency specified in Section 11165.9 whenever the mandated reporter, in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, has knowledge of or observes a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect. The mandated reporter shall make an initial report to the agency immediately or as soon as is practicably possible by telephone and the mandated reporter shall prepare and send, fax, or electronically transmit a written followup report thereof within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident. The mandated reporter may include with the report any nonprivileged documentary evidence the mandated reporter possesses relating to the incident.

(1)For purposes of this article, “reasonable suspicion” means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing, when appropriate, on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse or neglect. “Reasonable suspicion” does not require certainty that child abuse or neglect has occurred nor does it require a specific medical indication of child abuse or neglect; any “reasonable suspicion” is sufficient. For the purpose of this article, the pregnancy of a minor does not, in and of itself, constitute a basis for a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse.

(2)The agency shall be notified and a report shall be prepared and sent, faxed, or electronically transmitted even if the child has expired, regardless of whether or not the possible abuse was a factor contributing to the death, and even if suspected child abuse was discovered during an autopsy.

(3)Any report made by a mandated reporter pursuant to this section shall be known as a mandated report.

(b)If after reasonable efforts a mandated reporter is unable to submit an initial report by telephone, he or she shall immediately or as soon as is practicably possible, by fax or electronic transmission, make a one-time automated written report on the form prescribed by the Department of Justice, and shall also be available to respond to a telephone followup call by the agency with which he or she filed the report. A mandated reporter who files a one-time automated written report because he or she was unable to submit an initial report by telephone is not required to submit a written followup report.

(1)The one-time automated written report form prescribed by the Department of Justice shall be clearly identifiable so that it is not mistaken for a standard written followup report. In addition, the automated one-time report shall contain a section that allows the mandated reporter to state the reason the initial telephone call was not able to be completed. The reason for the submission of the one-time automated written report in lieu of the procedure prescribed in subdivision (a) shall be captured in the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS). The department shall work with stakeholders to modify reporting forms and the CWS/CMS as is necessary to accommodate the changes enacted by these provisions.

(2)This subdivision shall not become operative until the CWS/CMS is updated to capture the information prescribed in this subdivision.

(3)This subdivision shall become inoperative three years after this subdivision becomes operative or on January 1, 2009, whichever occurs first.

(4)On the inoperative date of these provisions, a report shall be submitted to the counties and the Legislature by the Department of Social Services that reflects the data collected from automated one-time reports indicating the reasons stated as to why the automated one-time report was filed in lieu of the initial telephone report.

(5)Nothing in this section shall supersede the requirement that a mandated reporter first attempt to make a report via telephone, or that agencies specified in Section 11165.9 accept reports from mandated reporters and other persons as required.

(c)Any mandated reporter who fails to report an incident of known or reasonably suspected child abuse or neglect as required by this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months confinement in a county jail or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both that imprisonment and fine. If a mandated reporter intentionally conceals his or her failure to report an incident known by the mandated reporter to be abuse or severe neglect under this section, the failure to report is a continuing offense until an agency specified in Section 11165.9 discovers the offense.

(d)(1)A clergy member who acquires knowledge or a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect during a penitential communication is not subject to subdivision (a). For the purposes of this subdivision, “penitential communication” means a communication, intended to be in confidence, including, but not limited to, a sacramental confession, made to a clergy member who, in the course of the discipline or practice of his or her church, denomination, or organization, is authorized or accustomed to hear those communications, and under the discipline, tenets, customs, or practices of his or her church, denomination, or organization, has a duty to keep those communications secret.

(2)Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to modify or limit a clergy member’s duty to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect when the clergy member is acting in some other capacity that would otherwise make the clergy member a mandated reporter.

(3)(A)On or before January 1, 2004, a clergy member or any custodian of records for the clergy member may report to an agency specified in Section 11165.9 that the clergy member or any custodian of records for the clergy member, prior to January 1, 1997, in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, other than during a penitential communication, acquired knowledge or had a reasonable suspicion that a child had been the victim of sexual abuse that the clergy member or any custodian of records for the clergy member did not previously report the abuse to an agency specified in Section 11165.9. The provisions of Section 11172 shall apply to all reports made pursuant to this paragraph.

(B)This paragraph shall apply even if the victim of the known or suspected abuse has reached the age of majority by the time the required report is made.

(C)The local law enforcement agency shall have jurisdiction to investigate any report of child abuse made pursuant to this paragraph even if the report is made after the victim has reached the age of majority.

(e)Any commercial film and photographic print processor who has knowledge of or observes, within the scope of his or her professional capacity or employment, any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide depicting a child under the age of 16 years engaged in an act of sexual conduct, shall report the instance of suspected child abuse to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the case immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, by telephone and shall prepare and send, fax, or electronically transmit a written report of it with a copy of the film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide attached within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident. As used in this subdivision, “sexual conduct” means any of the following:

(1)Sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals.

(2)Penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object.

(3)Masturbation for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer.

(4)Sadomasochistic abuse for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer.

(5)Exhibition of the genitals, pubic, or rectal areas of any person for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer.

(f)Any mandated reporter who knows or reasonably suspects that the home or institution in which a child resides is unsuitable for the child because of abuse or neglect of the child shall bring the condition to the attention of the agency to which, and at the same time as, he or she makes a report of the abuse or neglect pursuant to subdivision (a).

(g)(1)Any other person who has knowledge of or observes a child whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been a victim of child abuse or neglect, except as described in paragraph (2), may report the known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect to an agency specified in Section 11165.9.

(2)Any other person who has knowledge of or observes a child whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been a victim of sexual abuse shall report the known or suspected instance of sexual abuse to a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2. Any person who fails to report an incident of known or reasonably suspected sexual abuse as required by this paragraph is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months imprisonment in a county jail or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(3)For purposes of this section, “any other person” includes a mandated reporter who acts in his or her private capacity and not in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment.

(h)When two or more persons, who are required to report, jointly have knowledge of a known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect, and when there is agreement among them, the telephone report may be made by a member of the team selected by mutual agreement and a single report may be made and signed by the selected member of the reporting team. Any member who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter make the report.

(i)(1)The reporting duties under this section are individual, and no supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit the reporting duties, and no person making a report shall be subject to any sanction for making the report. However, internal procedures to facilitate reporting and apprise supervisors and administrators of reports may be established provided that they are not inconsistent with this article.

(2)The internal procedures shall not require any employee required to make reports pursuant to this article to disclose his or her identity to the employer.

(3)Reporting the information regarding a case of possible child abuse or neglect to an employer, supervisor, school principal, school counselor, coworker, or other person shall not be a substitute for making a mandated report to an agency specified in Section 11165.9.

(j)A county probation or welfare department shall immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, report by telephone, fax, or electronic transmission to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the case, to the agency given the responsibility for investigation of cases under Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and to the district attorney’s office every known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect, as defined in Section 11165.6, except acts or omissions coming within subdivision (b) of Section 11165.2, or reports made pursuant to Section 11165.13 based on risk to a child which relates solely to the inability of the parent to provide the child with regular care due to the parent’s substance abuse, which shall be reported only to the county welfare or probation department. A county probation or welfare department also shall send, fax, or electronically transmit a written report thereof within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident to any agency to which it makes a telephone report under this subdivision.

(k)A law enforcement agency shall immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, report by telephone, fax, or electronic transmission to the agency given responsibility for investigation of cases under Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and to the district attorney’s office every known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect reported to it, except acts or omissions coming within subdivision (b) of Section 11165.2, which shall be reported only to the county welfare or probation department. A law enforcement agency shall report to the county welfare or probation department every known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect reported to it which is alleged to have occurred as a result of the action of a person responsible for the child’s welfare, or as the result of the failure of a person responsible for the child’s welfare to adequately protect the minor from abuse when the person responsible for the child’s welfare knew or reasonably should have known that the minor was in danger of abuse. A law enforcement agency also shall send, fax, or electronically transmit a written report thereof within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident to any agency to which it makes a telephone report under this subdivision.

SEC. 2.

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.