In the State of South Carolina, many individuals in governmental or childcare-related jobs are required by law to report any suspected child abuse.
What is Suspected Child Abuse?
- Physical harm, or risk of harm, done intentionally by another person.
- Sexual activity inflicted on a child such as fondling, intercourse, exploitation, or exposure to child pornography.
- Belittling, berating of a child in an effort to injure their self-esteem and emotional well-being.
- Unnecessary medical care stems from false information.
- Failure to provide necessary and adequate food, shelter, affection, supervision, education, and medical care.
What are the Signs of Child Abuse?
- Pregnancy or infections transmitted by sexual activity
- Knowledge of sexual activities that is inappropriate for a child’s age
- Blood in child’s undergarments
- Attempting inappropriate sexual activities with other children
- Statements from children about being abused
- Low self-esteem
- Avoidance of certain situations
- The decline in school performance or interest in school
- Loss of developmental skills
- Underweight or overweight for age group
- Poor hygiene
- Poor school attendance
- Lack of medical care
- Lack of clothing or supplies
Who is Required to Report Child Abuse in South Carolina?
According to Code 1976 § 63-7-310 of the Code of Laws Of South Carolina “a physician, nurse, dentist, optometrist, medical examiner, or coroner, or an employee of a county medical examiner’s or coroner’s office, or any other medical, emergency medical services, mental health, or allied health professional, member of the clergy including a Christian Science Practitioner or religious healer, clerical or nonclerical religious counselor who charges for services, school teacher, counselor, principal, assistant principal, school attendance officer, social or public assistance worker, substance abuse treatment staff, or childcare worker in a childcare center or foster care facility, foster parent, police or law enforcement officer, juvenile justice worker, undertaker, funeral home director or employee of a funeral home, persons responsible for processing films, computer technician, judge, and a volunteer non-attorney guardian ad litem serving on behalf of the South Carolina Guardian Ad Litem Program or on behalf of Richland County CASA” are all required to report any suspected child abuse.
Only those under the age of 18 in these fields of work are excused from their duty as mandatory reporters of child abuse.
Where do you Report Child Abuse in South Carolina?
If you believe you know of an instance of child abuse, please report these suspicions to a supervisor or person in charge, in addition to the county department of social services or local law enforcement. There is also a hotline available 24/7 for reports of child abuse, 1-888-CARE4US or 1-888-227-3487
What happens if you Report Child Abuse in South Carolina and you are incorrect?
If you make a report of child abuse to a local agency and you are incorrect about your suspicions, you will not be held liable as long as your report was made in “Good Faith”. Good Faith reports are given immunity by state law and those who respond to the report are not able to sue the reporter. But if it is found that an individual knowingly withheld information and failed to report or made a report in “Bad Faith”, they will be charged with a misdemeanor and upon conviction will be fined up to $500 or imprisoned for up to 6 months.
Offices located in Abbeville, SC and Greenville, SC