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Campus efforts aim to boost awareness of need to report child abuse and neglect

If you see something, say something.

That's the bottom line of a range of efforts Stanford is undertaking to continue building awareness of the importance of reporting any cases of known or suspected child abuse or neglect that university community members may become aware of.

Stanford has strict requirements for the reporting of child abuse and neglect. The importance of reporting has gained heightened national visibility in recent years. In addition, the definition of who must report child abuse and neglect has been expanded.

"Protecting the safety of children in our community is an obligation of the entire Stanford community," said Vice President for Human Resources David A. Jones. "We want to make sure everyone in the Stanford community understands their responsibilities in reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, and that they have the information they need to fulfill those responsibilities with confidence if the need arises."

Members of the Stanford community fall into two categories for purposes of reporting incidents of child abuse and neglect.

First, all members of the university community are encouraged and expected to report any instance of known or reasonably suspected child abuse or neglect. A report can be made by calling:

  • 911 in an emergency (9-911 from campus phones)
  • Santa Clara County Child Abuse and Neglect Center, (650) 493-1186
  • Stanford University Department of Public Safety, (650) 723-9633 during business hours or (650) 329-2413 after hours

Second, state law has broadened the definition of "mandated reporters" who are obligated under the law to report child abuse occurring on campus or in connection with university activities.

Mandated reporters now include any person paid by the university who has regular contact with minors – including undergraduates under the age of 18 – in connection with university activities, or anyone who supervises such an individual, even if the supervisor does not have direct contact with minors. People who were mandated reporters before the change in the law remain mandated reporters, like some medical professionals. Mandated reporters may include faculty, staff, graduate students, medical personnel, athletic coaches, police officers and anyone else working in programs with activities involving minors.

A full list of mandated reporter categories is provided for in state law, and a Stanford checklist for determining reporting status is available on the web.

Mandated reporters are required to report reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect to one of the authorities listed above – and can face criminal prosecution for failure to do so. In addition, mandated reporters are required by law to follow up with a written report within 36 hours of suspecting abuse or neglect. Forms for filing such a written report are available on the Stanford website. After reporting to the authorities, all Stanford affiliates are encouraged to also report to their supervisor or the Stanford Compliance Helpline.

California requires that Stanford collect an acknowledgement form from each mandated reporter signifying their understanding of their responsibilities under the law. The form and instructions for filling it out are available at http://uhr.stanford.edu/form-instructions.

The campus currently is conducting a new round of outreach to leaders across the university, continuing to ensure that each organization identifies its mandated reporters and obtains the required acknowledgements from them.

In addition, the university has made a range of information, training resources, web links and answers to frequently asked questions available on its website. These resources, providing a broad overview of the issues involved in the reporting of child abuse and neglect, can be accessed at http://uhr.stanford.edu/mandatory-reporting-child-abuse-and-neglect. The Office of the General Counsel also has resources available at https://ogc.stanford.edu/child-abuse-and-neglect-reporting.