Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
A state law exists requiring clergy – including church staff - to report suspected child abuse and neglect. A few facts about reporting abuse:
- Reports are made by calling local law enforcement or DSS.
- The identity of those who report is confidential.
- Although they will be asked to give information about what led them to suspect abuse, reporters are not required to present hard evidence - that is up to DSS and law enforcement to obtain.
After the law was passed, the South Carolina Baptist Convention partnered with the SC Department of Social Services (DSS) and SC Educational Television (ETV) to produce an educational session about the law and how it affects church staff.
A recording of the session is available via DVD through the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
During the presentation, Pamela Bond from the Center for Child and Family Studies at USC College of Social Work identifies who must report child abuse and neglect, indicators of abuse, when, where and how to make a report, and what happens when a report is made. The DVD includes a printable handout.
For more information about the law or to request a DVD, contact Sue Harmon of the SC Baptist Convention at email@example.com or (803) 227-6152.It is recommended that each church solicit the advice of an independent and qualified attorney. State and local laws may vary. The South Carolina Baptist Convention nor the Southern Baptist Convention assumes any liability for reliance on this information.