UW-PLATTEVILLE POLICY ON THE REPORTING OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

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I. BACKGROUND

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville prioritizes safety and strives to provide a safe learning environment for everyone. Children come into contact with UW-Platteville employees and volunteers through various programs, camps and events. This policy is designed to implement Governor’s Executive Order 54, which requires that all UW-Platteville employees must report incidents of child abuse and neglect.

II. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to staff, faculty, volunteers, and students of the UW-Platteville community regarding the mandatory requirements in Wisconsin law and Governor’s Executive Order 54 that govern the reporting of suspected cases of child abuse and child neglect; and to affirm the commitment of UW-Platteville to the protection of the safety and welfare of children who come into contact with the UW-Platteville community.

II. AUTHORITY

The reporting requirements addressed in this policy implement the mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting provisions of the Wisconsin State Statute, Chapter 48.981, and Governor’s Executive Order 54, as they apply to UW-Platteville.

III. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE INSTITUTION

UW-Platteville shall take the following actions to implement this policy and support compliance with state law requirements:

A. Chancellor’s Designee.
The chancellor designates the UW-Platteville Police Department, and the department’s chief of police as the person or persons to receive oral and written reports of suspected child abuse or neglect from employees, students, and others at the institution.

B. Information Dissemination.
Employees, students and other members of the campus community shall be informed through the UW-Platteville Employee Handbook, the Student Handbook, institution websites, and other appropriate means of communication of:

  1. The requirements of this policy and relevant state law requirements;
  2. Institution policies and procedures for compliance with the policy; and
  3. Contact information for the UW-Platteville Police Department at 608.342.1584

C. Training.
Employees, volunteers, and students who have regular contact with children shall receive periodic training in the requirements of this policy, and shall sign documentation certifying their participation in such training.

D. Cooperation with Other Agencies.
The institution shall cooperate fully and appropriately with any investigation of suspected child abuse or neglect by a local department of social services or law enforcement agency. If the individual suspected of child abuse or neglect is an employee, volunteer, student, or contractor of the institution, the institution shall coordinate its own investigation or other activities in response to a report with the appropriate local agency.

E. Disciplinary Action.
UW-Platteville shall ensure that its own policies and procedures for addressing alleged employee, volunteer, and contractor misconduct include provisions and measures to respond swiftly and appropriately to reports of suspected child abuse and neglect.

F. Reports.
The chancellor shall inform the president of the UW System of any serious incident arising under this policy, consistent with the confidentiality requirements of federal and state law.

IV. DEFINITIONS

A. “Abuse” of a child includes any of the following:

  1. Physical injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means. “Physical injury” includes but is not limited to lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe or frequent bruising or great bodily harm.
  2. Sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a child under the age of 16 or with a 16 or 17 year-old child without his or her consent.
  3. Sexual exploitation of a child. Sexual exploitation of a child occurs when a person employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any child to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of recording or displaying the conduct or records or displays a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Sexual exploitation of a child also occurs when a person produces, performs in, profits from, promotes, imports into the state, reproduces, advertises, sells, distributes, or possesses with intent to sell or distribute, any recording of a child engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
  4. Permitting, allowing or encouraging a child to violate the statute prohibiting prostitution. 
  5. Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity for purposes of sexual arousal or sexual gratification.
  6. Exposing genitals or pubic area to a child or exposing a child’s genitals or pubic area for purposes of sexual arousal or sexual gratification.
  7. Manufacturing methamphetamine with a child present, or in a child’s home (including the premises of a child’s home or in a motor vehicle located on the premises of a child’s home), or under any other circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child.
  8. Emotional damage for which the child’s parent, guardian or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable for reasons other than poverty to obtain the necessary treatment or to take steps to ameliorate the symptoms. “Emotional damage” is defined as harm to a child’s psychological or intellectual functioning and is evidenced by one or more of the following characteristics exhibited to a severe degree: anxiety, depression, withdrawal; outward aggressive behavior; or a substantial and observable change in behavior, emotional response or cognition that is not within the normal range for the child’s age and stage of development.

B. “Child” is a person who is less than 18 years of age.
C. “Employee” is any UW-Platteville employee. This definition includes students who are employed at UW-Platteville and volunteers who work with students at UW-Platteville sponsored camps and events.
D. “Neglect” is failure, refusal or inability on the part of a caregiver, for reasons other than poverty, to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care or shelter so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child.

V. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

A. Reporting Requirements for UW-Platteville Employees.
UW-Platteville employees (including volunteers) must make a report of child abuse or neglect if, in the course of employment, a UW-Platteville employee observes an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, or learns of an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, and the employee has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur. The report must be made personally or by telephone to the UW-Platteville Police Department.

B. Reporting Requirements for UW-Platteville Police Department.
The UW-Platteville Police Department may cooperate in the investigation of the report with an appropriate outside law enforcement agency and shall provide a written report to the local department of social services no later than 48 hours of receiving a child abuse or neglect report from an employee.

  1. The report shall include the following information, to the extent that it is known by the employee and the UW-Platteville Police Department:
    • The name, age, and home address of the child;
    • The name and home address of the parent or other person responsible for the care of the child;
    • The child’s whereabouts;
    • The nature and extent of the suspected abuse or neglect, including any information regarding possible previous instances of abuse or neglect; and
    • Any other information that may help to identify the person responsible for the abuse or neglect or determine the cause.
  2. A copy of the written report also shall be provided to the Chancellor

C. Questions Regarding the Reporting Requirements.
Questions regarding the applicability of these requirements to a particular individual or situation may be directed to the UW System Office of General Counsel or the Chancellor’s Designee for the reporting of suspected abuse or neglect.

D. Reporting of Past Abuse or Neglect.
The obligation to report suspected child abuse or neglect applies, even if the individual who may have been the victim of past child abuse or neglect is no longer a child at the time when the past abuse or neglect is disclosed or otherwise suspected

VI. POLICY IMPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCE

A. Immunity.
Under Wisconsin State law any individual who in good faith makes or participates in making a report under the law shall be immune from any civil liability or criminal prosecution. In addition, no UW-Platteville employee making a good faith report of child abuse or neglect may be discharged from employment, disciplined or otherwise discriminated against in regard to employment, or threatened with any such treatment because that employee made a report in good faith

B. Failure to Report.
Any employee or volunteer of UW-Platteville who fails to report suspected child abuse or neglect in violation of this policy may be subject to discipline for professional misconduct, up to and including termination of the employee’s employment with or appointment to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

C. Confidentiality.
The confidentiality of a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, including the identity of an individual who makes a report under this policy, the individual suspected of abuse or neglect, and the child who may have been abused or neglected, will be protected consistent with relevant federal and state laws.

VII. IMPLEMENTATION

Access to a copy of this policy shall be provided to all faculty, staff, and students of UW- Platteville within one week of the Chancellor’s approval of the policy. This policy shall be incorporated into the UW-Platteville Employee Handbook and the UW-Platteville Student Handbook.


Approved: May 2012

Dennis J. Shields
Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

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