Published November 1, 2015
California law designates USC employees with certain positions as “mandated reporters” (defined below and in Appendix A ). Mandated reporters have an individual duty to report known or suspected abuse or neglect relating to children, elders or dependent adults. Any employees whose positions are designated by the state as mandated reporters must understand what they are required to report, when it must be reported, and to whom. Summary information regarding the three categories of mandated reports is provided below.
Some schools and departments may offer additional assistance related to abuse reporting. Those procedures are in addition to, but do not replace, the procedures described in this policy. Employees should refer to their department or facility for those additional abuse reporting procedures.
In accordance with USC policy, all USC employees, regardless of “mandated reporter” status, are required to report any known or suspected abuse or neglect relating to children. See USC’s Protecting Minors policy for more information. Under USC policy, two reports must be made in cases involving minors: First, an immediate report must be made to USC’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) (213) 740-4321 (emergency) or (213) 740-6000. (For health care practitioners and licensed counselors, see page 2.) The second report must be made to the Department of Children and Family Services Child Protection Hotline at (800) 540-4000. In addition, “mandated reporters” must file a third report in writing within 36 hours, see Section 3 under Child Abuse/Neglect.
1. Child. Person under age 18. (Penal Code § 11165)
2. Elder. Person age 65 or older. (Welfare & Inst. Code § 15610.26)
3. Dependent Adult. Person between ages 18 and 64 with a physical or mental limitation that restricts his or her ability to carry out normal activities or protect his or her rights. Includes all people between ages 18 and 64 who have been admitted as an inpatient to a 24 hour health care facility. (Welfare & Inst. Code § 15610.23)
4. Mandated Reporter. Employee who is required by law to report a particular category or type of abuse to the appropriate law enforcement or social service agency.
1. Who must report (Penal Code § 11165.7(a))
The following general categories of employees, described in more detail in Appendix A, are mandated reporters for abuse and neglect of a child:
- Teachers who instruct students under the age of 18
- Any USC employee or administrator, including faculty, whose job duties require contact on a regular basis with persons under the age of 18 (USC employees or administrators whose job duties require regular contact with children are required to report only with respect to child abuse or neglect occurring on USC’s premises or at a USC activity or program)
- Any USC employee or administrator, including faculty, supervising those whose job duties require contact on a regular basis with persons under the age of 18 (USC employees or administrators who supervise those whose job duties require regular contact with children are required to report only with respect to child abuse or neglect occurring on USC’s premises or at a USC activity or program). This paragraph and paragraph (b) do not alter the lawyer-client privilege. Penal Code § 11165.7(a)(41).
- Any USC athletic coach, including assistant coaches and graduate assistants involved in coaching
- Commercial computer technicians
- Child care and children’s activity providers
- Social workers and mental health practitioners
- Health care providers
2. What must be reported (Penal Code §§ 11165.1, 11165.6, 11166(a))
The following general categories of abuse and neglect of a child must be reported when a mandated reporter knows, or reasonably suspects such abuse or neglect has occurred:
- Physical injury
- Sexual abuse
- Willful harm or injury
- Endangering of health
- Unlawful corporal punishment or injury
Mutual fights between children, or injuries caused by reasonable and necessary force used by a peace officer acting within the scope of his or her duties, do not need to be reported.
3. Reporting process (Penal Code § 11166)
A mandated reporter who knows of or reasonably suspects abuse or neglect must comply with the reporting process described below. Note that in addition to the process below, a health care provider treating a child who may have been sexually assaulted must also attempt to contact the child’s parent or guardian, unless the provider reasonably believes that the child’s parent or guardian committed the sexual assault.
- Immediately—Notify the Department of Public Safety, from all locations, by calling (213) 740-4321 (emergency) or (213) 740-6000, that a report to Department of Children and Family Services will be made. While USC policy requires that you report to DPS, you are not required to disclose your identity to DPS. However, consistent with patient privilege obligations and Clery Act exemptions, health care practitioners and licensed counselors (or those working under their supervision) are not required to notify the Department of Public Safety.
- As soon as possible—Make a telephone report to the LAPD or Department of Children and Family Services Child Protection Hotline at (800) 540-4000 (available 24 hours, 7 days a week).
- Within 36 hours—File a written report on Form SS8572 (Suspected Child Abuse Report) with the Department of Children and Family Services; address to be provided when making telephone report to them (or will be provided by LAPD, if the LAPD was initially notified by telephone). Form available at: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/childabuse/ss_8572.pdf
Dependent Adult/Elder Abuse
Who must report (Welfare & Inst. Code § 15630)
The following categories of employees are mandated reporters for elder or dependent adult abuse:
- Any employee (including support staff and maintenance staff) working in any facility that provides any elder or dependent care services
- Any employee providing direct health care or social services to an elder or dependent adult
- Health care practitioners
What must be reported (Welfare & Inst. Code § 15630(b))
The following general categories of incidents of abuse of an elder or dependent adult must be reported when a mandated reporter has observed, has knowledge of or reasonably suspects the abuse, or is told by the elder or dependent adult that such abuse has occurred:
- Physical abuse
- Financial abuse
Reporting procedures (Welfare & Inst. Code § 15630(c))
The appropriate reporting agency for elder and dependent adult abuse depends on the location in which the abuse occurred, not the location in which it was discovered. After a report has been made using the procedures below, follow up and status updates may be obtained via the Adult Protective Services Mandated Reporter Hotline at (888) 202-4248.
Long-term care or adult day health care center
- Immediately—Telephone report to the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at (800) 334-9473.
- Within two working days—Written report on Form SOC341 “Report of Suspected Dependent Adult/Elder Abuse” to Long Term Care Ombudsman; address to be provided when making telephone report. Form available at: https://cdss.ca.gov/portals/9/fmuforms/q-t/soc341.pdf
All other settings
- Immediately—Telephone report to Adult Protective Services at (213) 351-5401 or (877) 477-3647.
- Within two working days—Written report on Form SOC341 “Report of Suspected Dependent Adult/Elder Abuse” faxed to (213) 738-6485. Form available at: https://cdss.ca.gov/portals/9/fmuforms/q-t/soc341.pdf
Injury by Firearm or Assault/Abuse
Who must report (Penal Code § 11160(a))
Any health practitioner providing services in a health facility, clinic or physician’s office who knows or reasonably suspects that a patient to whom the practitioner is providing services is the victim of assaultive or abusive conduct or a firearm injury.
What must be reported (Penal Code § 11160(a)(1), (d))
All physical injuries known or reasonably suspected to have resulted from the following general categories of conduct must be reported:
- Firearms—whether inflicted by the patient or another
- Murder, manslaughter, mayhem, aggravated mayhem, torture, battery
- Assault—including with intent to commit another crime, with a stun gun or taser, or with a deadly weapon
- Administration of a controlled substance or anesthetic to aid in commission of a felony
- Sexual battery, incest, rape, spousal rape, procuring a female to have sex with another man, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration
- Throwing chemical substances with the intent to injure or disfigure
- Child abuse or endangerment, lewd or lascivious acts with a child
- Abuse of spouse or cohabitant
- Elder abuse
- Attempt to commit any crime listed in bullet points above
Reporting process (Penal Code § 11160(b))
- Immediately—Telephone report to local law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which the injury occurred.
- Within two working days—Written report on Form OES 920 “Suspicious Injury Report”; address to be provided when making telephone report. Form available from the state of California.
The USC hospitals and the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry have additional procedures related to the same categories of mandated reporting. For example, health care providers also may need to make an accounting of disclosures under this policy as required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule. See the hospital intranet for links to hospital-based mandated reporter information, and USC’s HIPAA policies at https://policy.usc.edu/admin/.
For those who are mandated reporters under California law, failure to report is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1000, or both (Penal Code §§ 11162, 11166(c); Welfare & Inst. Code § 15630(h)). In some cases, failure to report elder or dependent adult abuse may result in up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $5000, or both (Welfare & Inst. Code § 15630(h)).
Failure to report is also serious neglect of duty that can lead to discipline, in accordance with the Faculty Handbook (for faculty) or staff policies (for staff).
All employees who are mandated reporters are required to sign the relevant acknowledgment forms (see Forms, below).
Questions regarding categories of abuse that must be reported or the reporting process in general may be directed to the following offices:
Compliance (213) 740-2500
DPS (213) 740-4321 (emergency), (213) 740-6000 (non-emergency)
Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (213) 740-5086
Office of Compliance
Michael Quick, Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs
Todd R. Dickey, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California