Sexual abuse can result in physical injuries, mental trauma, and psychological issues. It’s especially serious when the victim is a minor. Illinois laws mandate that you must report a suspected incident of child abuse if you are on the list of mandated reporters. It is also best to consult with a sexual abuse lawyer if you suspect that a loved one has suffered abuse.
Unsure whether you’re required or ready to report sexual abuse? First, you must understand what constitutes sexual abuse and whether you qualify as a mandated reporter under state laws.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity that takes advantage of a victim who can’t or hasn’t consented to the act. When such abuse is directed toward a minor, consent is no longer a factor. All sexual actions towards a minor constitute abuse.
The perpetrator of such abuse may be someone close to the minor victim. It may be a parent, foster parent, guardian, romantic partner, something who is responsible for the child’s welfare, or a resident in the same home. It can also be a stranger who came to interact with the child for some reason.
Who is a Mandated Reporter?
Under Illinois laws, certain professionals qualify as mandated reporters. This means that they must report instances of child abuse or neglect directly at the specified hotline. The professionals who fall in this category include healthcare professionals, educators, law enforcement officers, and more. You can view the full list of mandated reporters here.
If you suspect that a mandatory report has failed to report the abuse of a loved one, you may need to contact a lawyer about your case. They can determine whether you have a lawsuit against the responsible parties, and identify any mandatory reporters who failed to report sexual abuse may face penalties for their negligence.
How to Report Sexual Abuse
If you qualify as a mandated reporter and want to report sexual abuse of a minor, you are required to provide the following details at the state hotline:
- Names of all the children and adults involved
- Ages or birth dates of all the children and adults involved
- Race, gender, and other details for all parties involved
- Current locations and other relevant addresses for all parties involved
- Specific details about the incident of abuse or circumstances that created a suspicion of abuse
You can view the full set of guidelines in Illinois’ Manual for Mandatory Reporters.
Once you submit a report of abuse, trained social workers screen the report to see if it should be investigated. Authorities will typically initiate an investigation when the victim is under eighteen, there is reasonable suspicion or proof that abuse occurred, and the perpetrator is an adult who had access to the child.
You must report any instance of sexual abuse, especially one involving a minor, as soon as possible. It’s best to err on the side of caution and report, instead of ignoring a piece of evidence or suspicious circumstances.
Your Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help
At Lane & Lane, LLC, we understand that sexual abuse cases can be legally complicated. This is why we help you proceed with such cases with our vast legal experience and highly competent lawyers.
Reach out for a free consultation if you suspect sexual abuse and need help managing your case. Contact us today at 312-332-1400 to discuss your case with our lawyers, or you can fill out our online contact form below.